Studio 2: TU Dance Center is growing!

Since opening TU Dance Center in 2010,  our youth programming has steadily expanded to meet the needs of more and more remarkable and talented young dancers.   We are pleased to announce a 2,000 square foot expansion project which is underway upstairs from our current studio, opening in late June. The expansion will include a new dance studio, TU Dance Center Studio 2, as well as new restroom facilities and administrative space.


Construction costs are supported with gifts from generous foundations,  but we need your help to purchase dance and music equipment for our growing program.   Click here to watch TU Dance students talk about the campaign on our Indiegogo site, and consider your own gift through Indiegogo to help purchase ballet barres, piano & drums, a sound system, and a new sprung floor for Studio 2.  Through generous program support from Local Initiative Support Corporation, every dollar of this one-month fund drive goes directly to the purchase of musical instruments and dance equipment for TU Dance Center.

Studio 2 construction is made possbile by grants from The McKnight Foundation, Mardag Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, the City of St. Paul Cultural STAR program, and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative; and with project support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

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TU Dance Center Student Showcase: June 5-7

Please join TU Dance Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, and TU Dance Center faculty in celebrating the TU Dance Center students! Young dancers of all ages will perform at the University of Minnesota’s Barbara Barker Center for Dance, showcasing their work in ballet, modern, West African and repertory – including new choreography by Uri Sands and Laurel Keen.

Performance Dates:
Friday, June 5, 7:30 pm*
Saturday, June 6, 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm*
Sunday, June 7, 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm

*Please join us for a reception following the evening performances!

Click here for ticket information from the University of Minnesota box office.

The Barbara Barker Center for Dance is located at 500 21st Ave S in Minneapolis, at the intersection of 21st and Riverside Ave.


In-Studio Showing at TU Dance Center: April 2, 2015

Join us this Thursday for a special in-studio preview of work to be performed in the upcoming spring concert, April 17-19 at The Cowles Center in Minneapolis.   The showing will include an excerpt of The More Things Change, a world premiere work by choreographer Uri Sands honoring Marian Anderson’s 1939 open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

In-Studio Showing at TU Dance Center
Thursday, April 2 | 5:00 – 6:30pm
(Wine & cheese reception at 5:00, showing starts at 5:30pm)

Click here for information on Finding TU Dance Center

Spring Dance Concert at the Cowles Center: April 17-19, 2015


TU Dance Spring Dance Concert – April 17-19, 2015
The Cowles Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota | Tickets
The 2015 spring concert features The More Things Change, a world premiere work by choreographer Uri Sands honoring Marian Anderson, the celebrated American contralto who was breaking barriers for African-American artists decades before the civil rights movement.  The program also features favorites from the company’s repertory, including the reprise of an audience favorite, For You (2007), centered on the experience of an intense rapport between the performers, a gracious host and a surprise guest who enters a space of trust and generosity.  In Keep the Edges Wild (2013), New York choreographer Gregory Dolbashian conveys a fluid vision of urban life– a signature hybrid of hip-hop and contemporary movement which is “distinct and highly relevant for the 21st century” (Caroline Palmer, StarTribune). Uri Sands’ full-company work, Hikari (2014), rounds out the program.  Originally commissioned by the Ordway Center for its TU Dance 10th anniversary concert, Hikari is an immersive exploration of light, created in collaboration with print artist Hiroki Morinoue.

Join the company for a free in-studio preview including excerpts from the new work, April 2 from 5-6:30pm at TU Dance Center. Click here for information.

Uri Sands’ New Choreographic Work Honors Marian Anderson

In his world premiere work, The More Things Change, choreographer Uri Sands explores the incremental, underlying flux of civil rights progress, reflecting on contemporary themes and inspired by contralto Marian Anderson’s 1939 open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. After having been refused permission to perform at Constitution Hall, Anderson’s iconic Easter concert, performed for 75,000 and broadcast to millions via radio, broke barriers for African-American artists decades before the civil rights movement.  Click here for a PBS NewsHour segment on Marian Anderson.

TU Dance will premiere the new work at The Cowles Center in Minneapolis, April 17-19, 2015, as part of the TU Dance spring dance concert. Click here for tickets & box office information


Marian Anderson in 1940; Anderson’s 1939 Performance at the Lincoln Memorial


StarTribune Review: 2014 Fall Dance Concert

TU Dance showcases quicksilver beauty in world premiere

Article by: CAROLINE PALMER , Special to the Star Tribune

Updated: November 23, 2014 – 9:12 PM

The new work by Icelandic choreographer Katrin Hall casts TU dancers within the bigger context of nature itself.

Uri Sands and Toni-Pierce Sands of TU Dance probably didn’t anticipate January weather when they asked Icelandic choreographer Katrín Hall to create a world premiere for their fall season, but the frozen landscape outside The O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul on Friday night set a suitable tone for “Andrými.”

This stark work, set against projected images of arctic places, has a remote sort of beauty to it, as if transported from an ice cave to thaw out on stage.

Hall juxtaposes movement qualities in “Andrými.” Over the course of time, locked limbs loosen and bodies become pliable, melting into the floor or one another. The quicksilver dancers cultivate a volatile relationship — at times brittle and snappish, but also supportive — as if they are a hearty gang of survivors trying to negotiate a harsh environment.

But even as the work tends toward introspection, it doesn’t alienate or depress. Instead “Andrými” — which is an Icelandic word referring to space and breath — places the human experience within the bigger context of nature itself. We are small beings who nonetheless rail against larger obstacles, either inside ourselves or in the world around us. It’s a quiet sort of rage, and yet when unleashed can cause an avalanche of emotions. And that is Hall’s purpose, to break apart what is frozen to find the warmth within.

The program also featured two TU repertory favorites, both choreographed by Sands. “One” (2013), which was inspired by the story of Henrietta Lacks (the unwitting source for human cells used in medical research), is among the best works in recent years from a local artist. Performed by eight women, the piece is a poignant meditation on loss and possibility. It is passionate, sorrowful and flat-out beautiful. “High Heel Blues” (2005) is a playful duet about loving what hurts you. Impressive company apprentice Taylor Collier and recent Sage Award winner Duncan Schultz delivered a high-spirited performance.

Dwight Rhoden’s “If and Or” (2013) kicked off the evening. “The detail is in the pattern” is a recurring line in the score, and it describes the constantly shifting relationships onstage. It’s a dance about precision and for that reason seems more like an exercise in technique, but at the same time choreographers like Merce Cunningham have shown us that there are always small rebellions within even the most formal structures.

Caroline Palmer writes about dance.

2014 Fall Concert Preview: CityPages

TU Dance Premieres Work by Icelandic Choreographer Katrin Hall

By Sheila Regan Fri., Nov. 21 2014 at 9:06 AM  |
Categories: Dance

This weekend, TU Dance premieres a new work by Icelandic choreographer Katrin Hall for a commission by the O’Shaughnessy. The evening will also include a work about Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cell, choreographed by TU’s co-artistic director Uri Sands; a duet by Sands, called High Heel Blues; and a full-company contemporary ballet piece, titled If and Or, choreographed by Dwight Rhoden.>>READ MORE


“Dance Education Changed My Life” –Uri Sands

(L) Visiting RR Morton Elementary in Miami, the arts magnet school where I began; 
(R) in performance with TU Dance

From my childhood dance classes at RR Morton Elementary to the public New World School of the Arts, my life’s work was sparked by access to dance education. Toni and I founded TU Dance to create access and opportunity — a platform for artists, students and audiences to engage the remarkable art form that shaped our own lives. We are halfway through 2014 Give to the Max Day and we need your support. With your help, we will continue to bring the connective power of dance through local and touring performances, educational outreach programs and through need-based scholarships that make excellent dance training accessible at TU Dance Center in Saint Paul. Access to dance education changes lives.

Repertory class with students at TU Dance Center

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