TU Dance triumphs in new dance at Ordway, StarTribune Dance Review

TU Dance triumphed at the Ordway in St. Paul on Saturday. Between works of spiritually uplifting grandeur and politically charged emotion, intimate demonstrations of highly technical skill and incredible ensemble work, the evening — which included a world premiere and three recent repertory pieces — took the audience for a sweeping ride.

The Ordway co-commissioned Ronald K. Brown’s premiere, “Where The Light Shines Through,” along with the Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation. It featured a rare solo by TU’s co-Artistic Director Uri Sands, who demonstrated his incredible polyrhythmic genius. With arms and shoulders, knees, hips and feet all going in different directions and at different speeds, Sands brought joy and vivacity to Brown’s West African-influenced movement.

Even in the most complicated sequences, the dancers in the piece made their work appear effortless. They were dressed in luxuriously ornamented costumes designed by Keiko Voltaire, which added to the work’s sense of ceremony.

Countering Brown’s hopeful and spirited work, Sands’ “Matter,” which premiered in 2016, went to much darker and more sinister places.

Teeming with bare symbolism, Sands unleashed a raw declaration as he explored America’s violent history in regards to race.

Dancers were draped in American flags. A giant image of the White House slowly shrank from view. The dancers simulated getting beaten, holding their hands to protect their faces. They grapevined, backs to the audience, in slow motion across the stage, as if targets in a shooting range. Through the hip-hop-influenced choreo­graphy and a devastating solo by Alanna Morris-Van Tassel, “Matter” spoke to brutal realities that persist in our society.

The two other pieces — “Footprint” by Gioconda Barbuto and the dancers from 2015, and “Candle” by Kyle Abraham, which premiered in 2016, highlighted TU’s magnificent work as an ensemble and their unparalleled individual dancers.

“Footprint” showed the ensemble at its best. With its jazzy, brooding beginning, the dancers slid, snapped and spiraled. They were then affected by a sickness. The contorted movements of one infected the others. The movements spread from one dancer to another like wildfire. Dressed in kilts and futuristic wear designed by Sonya Berlovitz in collaboration with choreographer and co-Artistic Director Toni Pierce-Sands, they moved as an amorphous whole.

“Candle,” meanwhile, gave the opportunity for some of TU’s top dancers to truly show their luster. Alexis Staley gave a mesmerizing performance, while Randall Riley and Christian Warner proved a delight in a duet that showed that despite their vastly varying heights, they were born to perform with each other.

Sheila Regan is a Minneapolis arts writer.

Source: http://www.startribune.com/new-dance-at-ordway-inspired-by-west-african-movement/420846403/

TU Dance receives a Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences Grant

We are honored to be among 21 national organizations receiving the Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences Grant.  “Building on past rounds, the emphasis in this fourth round of EDA is on refining existing engagement programs that have shown success at reaching dance audiences and communities.”

Read the press release here.

TU Dance will train diverse young students enrolled in our programs at TU Dance Center as Audience Ambassadors, to engage 125 diverse adults (some of whom have never attended a professional dance concert) as dance performance audiences, and learn from their experience.

Engaging Dance Audiences is administered by Dance/USA and made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

 

TU Dance named “Best Dance Company” by City Pages – Best of the Twin Cities 2017!

Best Dance Company

TU Dance

The TU dancers continue to electrify the local scene, especially in their performance of Uri Sands’ Matter last November. The work drew on the dancers’ personal responses to recent instances of violence and racism with urgency. Sands’ complex choreography requires the exacting clarity of ballet melded with scrappy street smarts and urban syncopations. The 10 TU dancers met these demands and raised the ante, moving with the buoyancy of swimmers and the brazen attack of Katniss Everdeen on a mission, demonstrating that they felt equally at home in the air or on the ground. Within the communal framework of Matter, dancers showed startling individuality: Kaitlen Setzke Bell’s blend of precision and wildness, Youthen Joseph’s snaky street grace, Darwin Black’s effortless cool. Perhaps Alanna Morris-Van Tassel best captured the spirit of Matter in a solo where, wrapped in an American flag, she presented a body unhinged, vulnerable, and despairing.

http://www.citypages.com/best-of/2017/arts-and-culture/tu-dance/419757323

TU Dance at the Ordway, April 29

Join us, as the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts presents TU Dance in a one-night-only performance as part of the Ordway’s World Music & Dance Series sponsored by Target®. The evening will feature four works, including a world premier by New York choreographer Ronald K. Brown commissioned by the Ordway and the Rosemary & David Good Family Foundation.
Brown’s new work, Where The Light Shines Through, tells a story of solidarity and perseverance, examining how purpose is often directed by one’s perspective. The work features traditional music recorded by Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba and other world music artists.
Also on the program are three critically-acclaimed works from the TU Dance repertory: FOOTPRINT (2015), choreographed by Gioconda Barbuto in collaboration with the company; Kyle Abraham’s Candle (2015), and Matter (2016), choreographed by Uri Sands.
The Ordway’s World Music & Dance Series is sponsored by Target. This performance is presented by Sit Investment Associates with additional support from Patricia A. Mitchell Fund for Dance and the City of Saint Paul STAR Program. For tickets and more information, visit www.ordway.org/event/tu-dance.

Company Showing, March 30 and April 13

In anticipation of the TU Dance Spring Concert at the Ordway, April 29, please join Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and artist in residence Ronald K. Brown for two informal in-studio showings on Thursday, March 30, from 5:30-6:30pm at TU Dance Center and on Thursday, April 13, from 6:30-7:30pm at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. The showcase will feature excerpts from the spring concert program, which includes world premiere by Ronald K. Brown commissioned by The Ordway and The Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation and selections from the TU Dance repertory. Presented by SIT Investment Associates with additional support from Patricia A. Mitchell Fund for Dance.

FREE | Open to all
Advanced registration required.

March 30 at TU Dance Center
Doors open at 5:00pm | Showing, 5:30-6:30pm
To register, please call: 651.282.3170 or secure your spot online at ORDWAY.ORG

April 13 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Drake Room
Doors open at 6:00pm | Showing, 6:30-7:30pm
To register, please call: 651.282.3170 or secure your spot online at ORDWAY.ORG

Photo: Michael Slobodian

Contemporary Dance Master Class with Ron K. Brown, March 29

In anticipation of the TU Dance Spring Concert at the Ordway, please join us for a contemporary dance master class with artist in residence Ronald K. Brown!

Wednesday, March 29, 6- 7:30PM
TU Dance Center | 2121 University Ave W, St. Paul, MN
$7 per person | Ages 12 + | All levels welcome
To register, call: 651.224.4222 or secure your spot by paying online here
Loose clothing and bare feet recommended

This class is designed for intergenerational participants with a wide range to no dance experience. Class begins with meditation and floor work that includes stretching and mind-body centering exercises. Center floor work includes alignment and the introduction of the various dance techniques that are incorporated in the vocabulary of Ronald K. Brown/ EVIDENCE, A Dance Company. Phrases across the floor use influences from western modern dance as well as traditional and social dances from West Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S.

TU Dance returns to the Ordway —an evening featuring world premiere by Ronald K. Brown commissioned by The Ordway and The Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation and include selections from the TU Dance repertory — on Saturday, April 29, 7:30pm at The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets, call the Ordway at 651.224.4222 or visit Ordway.org.

Contemporary Dance Classes with Ron K. Brown and Arcell Cabuag, March 22, 27 and 29

Master Classes are designed for intergenerational participants with a wide range to no dance experience.  Classes begin center floor with and emphasis on alignment, rhythm and using the body to express ideas and themes; strength, prayer, and celebration. Classes for beginning/intermediate/advanced dancers begin with meditation and floor work that includes stretching and mind-body centering exercises. Center floor work or barre work includes alignment and the introduction of the various dance techniques that are incorporated in the vocabulary of Ronald K. Brown/ EVIDENCE, A Dance Company. Phrases across the floor use influences from the western modern dance as well as traditional and social dances from West Africa, the Caribbean, and the US.

Wednesday, March 22 and March 29 with Arcell Cabuag at 9:30am
Monday, March 27 with Ron K. Brown at 9:30am

TU Dance Center

Note: please see the additional post about Ron K. Brown’s masterclass on March 29 at 6:00pm

Ron K. Brown’s bio.

Arcell Cabuag’s bio.

Cost: $14/class or class card.

This activity is supported by The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and The Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation.

TU Dance Company Audition, April 9

TU Dance Artistic Directors, Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands will be holding auditions for the 2017-2018 Season.

Sunday, April 9

11:30am – Registration

12:00-3:00pm – Audition

Interested dancers need to email their current resume and headshot to gemma.isaacson@tudance.org and also bring hard copies the day of the audition.
For more information, please email gemma.isaacson@tudance.org.

TU Dance Center, 2121 University Avenue West, Saint Paul MN 55114

Dance Master Class with Gioconda Barbuto, March 4

Encompassing, integrating, exploring and communicating, with a fun and direct approach that builds towards spatial awareness, improvisation, choreography and the development of physical language. These movement workshop for Intermediate/Advanced students can easily lend themselves towards dance, circus, opera, theatre and more.
March 4, 2017
2:00-3:30pm, TU Dance Center
Cost: $16
Student Name:

“Gioconda’s workshop is based upon three fundamental points necessary for a dancer to thrive: reactivity, imagination and collective consciousness. Bringing the individuality and personality of each artist as the center of creation, the class proposes a series of improvisations which by the universality of the themes she proposes — the question of ego, of presence and the expressivity — applies as much to dancers as to circus artists, actors and singers. Revolving around the question of exchange, the workshop takes place in only 2 hours or less and unfolds like a pre orchestrated performance and a formidable human and artistic adventure.” Thomas Birzan, Dance Artist.

Gioconda Barbuto is an Italo-Canadian dancer and choreographer. She began her training with Gladys Forrester and pursued her artistic development at the Banff Centre and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. A dancer of explosive wit, subtle intelligence, and a fine sense of theatricality, Gioconda has distinguished herself throughout her career in an impressive number of works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Michel Fokine, Christopher House, Jiri Kylián, Hans Van Manen, James Kudelka, José Limon, Brian Macdonald, Mark Morris, Ohad Naharin, Fernand Nault, Anthony Tudor, Sol León /Paul Lightfoot, Meryl Tankard, Johann Inger, American performance designer and director Robert Wilson and many others. She danced with the Minnesota Dance Theatre before becoming a soloist with Les Grand Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, where she danced for 16 years.  In 1998 she was invited by Jiri Kylian to join Nederlands Dans Theater III in The Hague, Holland, with a group of high caliber dancers, all over the age of forty, and toured internationally with the company for eight years. Gioconda is featured in two of Jiri Kylian’s award winning Films, Birth Day and Car Men.  In 1996 she was nominated for the Kennedy Center Fellowship and was the recipient of the Clifford E. Lee choreography award. She is a recipient of several grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and has created many of her own solo and group projects with many renowned dance artists, such as Margie Gillis, Ginette Laurin, Paul Andre Fortier, Coleman/Lemieux, Martino Müller, Anik Bissonnette, Emily Molnar and Joe Laughlin to name a few.  Gioconda‘s choreography has been presented at TU Dance, Ballet BC, Ballet Jorgen, Banff Festival Ballet, Danse Cite, Tangente, L’Agora de la danse, Vancouver Dance Centre, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, BJM Danse Montreal, Alberta Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, Northwest Dance Project, McKnight Fellowship Solo Commission, Bravo FACT, CBC Canada/Films Piche Ferrari, Ballet Kelowna, The Juilliard School, Arts Umbrella Dance Company, You Dance/National Ballet of Canada, Simon Fraser University Dance, Ecole Supérieure de Ballet de Quebec, Dutch National Ballet Academy, Nederlands Dans Theater Choreographic Workshop and many more. Gioconda has also created and directed the graduating production L’Abri, for the National Circus School.  The 2015-2016 season brought many new projects and highlights for Gioconda. She was selected as the 2015 McKnight International Artist and has choreographed and premiered a new work for the partnering company TU Dance entitled FOOTPRINT with music by Gabriel Prokofiev. Her season began with a creation and performance of a new work in collaboration with Joe Laughlin, entitled 4OUR, which continued on an eastern Canada tour in the fall of 2016. Amongst her many commissions, she also choreographed a new solo for Joe Laughlin and was invited back to Arts Umbrella Dance Company, Ecole Supérieure de Ballet de Quebec as well as the Dutch National Ballet Academy. Gioconda also conducted creative movement workshops for Danse a la Carte, University of Minnesota’s Northrop Auditorium, TU Dance, and for the summer dance intensives of the Dutch National Ballet, Arts Umbrella Dance and RUBBERBANDance Group. Her workshops will also be featured at the Vancouver Training Society and Yokohama Dance Intensive. This spring, for the Atelier et Laboratoire de Creation, Gioconda will be on faculty for the 10th Anniversary of TransFormation Danse. Gioconda continues to share her passion for Dance and the Performance Arts through her choreography, performances, movement workshops, directing and coaching.

Open Ballet Class with Jennifer Hart | Monday, February 6

Jennifer Hart will be teaching open ballet class on Monday, February 6 at 9:30am.  Please join us!

Cost: $14/class. Class card accepted.

Jennifer Hart is a choreographer whose work has been commissioned by Ballet Austin, Ballet Austin ll, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, The Walker Art Center’s Momentum Series, The McKnight Fellowship for Dancers, Metropolitan Ballet Project in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Lawrence Ballet Theatre.  In 2011, Hart was awarded a New York City Ballet Fellowship and won third place at the Saint-Sauveur International Choreography Competition. She received second place at Ballet Nouveau Colorado’s choreography competition, and was one of three winners of the University of Kansas’ competitive choreography competition. She was chosen three times to present work at Ballet Builders, New Choreographer’s on Point in NYC. She was commissioned by University of Massachusetts in the fall of 2013; the work was chosen for the National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center, June 2014. In March 2015, she premiered a new ballet, To Here, for Ballet Austin’s Director’s Choice. In 2014, she formed Performa/Dance with Ballet Austin dancer Edward Carr. Performa/Dance launched its inaugural show Ignite: Three Works, in June, 2014. Her work for Performa/Dance was awarded two Austin Critic’s Table awards for Best Short Work (“On Truth and Love”) and Best Dance Concert (Ignite: Three Works). Along with her work in concert dance, she has choreographed and performed cabaret shorts for nightclubs and television. She trained at Minnesota Dance Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. Her performing career includes Minnesota Dance Theatre, Ballet of the Dolls, and L.A Chamber Ballet, as well as independent choreographers. She choreographs yearly for Ballet Austin’s apprentices and Fellowship recipients, teaches full-time in the academy, and serves as Curriculum Leader for the lower levels of the school.

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