Founded in 2004 by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands in Saint Paul, Minnesota, TU Dance is a leading voice for contemporary dance. The 10-member, professional company is acclaimed for its diverse and versatile artists, performing work that draws together modern dance, classical ballet, African-based and urban vernacular movements.

“Dance creates a shared experience—an undeniable space where a diverse community of audience and artists connect to a common power.

We founded TU Dance to create access and opportunity—a platform for performers, students and audiences to engage the remarkable art form that shaped our lives.”

Toni Pierce-Sands & Uri Sands

The TU Dance repertory features original work by renowned choreographers including Dwight Rhoden, Ron K. Brown, Kyle Abraham, Gioconda Barbuto, Katrin Hall, Marcus Jarrell Willis, Gregory Dolbashian and Camille A. Brown. Through celebrated performances of the professional company and accessible dance education at TU Dance Center, TU Dance provides opportunities for everyone to experience the connective power of dance.

TU Dance’s Mission:

TU Dance draws from diverse dance expressions to connect communities with transformational possibilities that bring to life our shared humanity.






Spring Dance Concert ▪ April 26 & 27, 2024

The O’Shaughnessy, Saint Paul | Tickets | 1672754-inline-iconbwAccessibility

THREAT is a concert dance theater work that aims to provoke an interrogation of the roles we play as individuals and community in hierarchies. The work posits that hierarchies have the power to control our behavior and infiltrate our thoughts, even when no authority is present to enforce the rules. Using a physical language and soundscape that fuses multicultural traditions and styles of the West and the African Diaspora, this social exploration invites audiences into a modern narrative that speaks to the universal experience of authority, obedience, and rebellion. As a performance, THREAT employs multifaceted contemporary movement and theatricality that is bathed in an eclectic and evocative original score and set design. It is a work where orchestral strings, djembe drum, and spoken word bump into soundbites of Malcolm X, Jamaica Kincaid, Donald Trump and Fidel Castro — where new and old flags hang, representing freedom and control, safety and danger.

April 26 & 27, 2024 | 7:30pm

Ticket Prices:  $40; Seniors: $30; Students: $5-$30 

To purchase tickets click here or call (651) 690-6700

THREAT Press Release

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and culture heritage fund.

Photo: Yusha-Marie Sorzano by Eric Politzer



Yusha Marie Sozrano by Eric Politzer




Touring & Residencies Schedule

North Hennepin Community CollegeMarch 22, 2024Brooklyn Park, MN

Booking TU Dance

For booking information, contact executive director Abdo Sayegh Rodriguez at ‪(651) 724-9708 or abdo.sayegh@tudance.org.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Tour, Arts Access, and Operating Support grants, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.



                                                                                — StarTribune



The School at TU Dance Center was formed in 2011, realizing the vision for an educational program committed to access and excellence.  The School shares TU Dance Center with the professional company, providing unparalleled opportunities for students of all ages to learn from working dancers, seasoned faculty, and distinguished guest artists who are frequently in residence with the company.

“students come out of the program with self-confidence, with the ability to transform their lives, with the gift of having experienced pure joy.”Natalie, a TU Dance Center parent

The School is organized in three divisions: the children and teen program introduces the joy of creative movement and beginning dance technique; the pre-professional program trains aspiring dancers up to age 23 who are considering dance careers; and the open program welcomes everyone to join individual classes in a range of techniques including ballet, modern and West African dance.


To learn more about the offerings of The School at TU Dance Center, including class schedules and registration information,
>>click here to visit the programs, classes & faculty page<<



A Trainee Program (2023-2024)


CUL·TI·VATE, A Trainee Program: curated encounters (in and outside the dance studio) designed to support and strengthen the total dance artist, advancing their physical, emotional, and cognitive growth, agility, and acumen. Rooted in TU Dance’s vision of transformational communities, CUL·TI·VATE nurtures artistic excellence and the development of intellectual curiosities and moral character, finely tuned to ignite flourishing communities committed to shared humanity.  (Dr. Carol Marie Webster, PhD)

Inspired by the next generation of dance artists, CUL·TI·VATE is a program designed as a bridge for dancers with advanced training between their educational perspective and envisioning themselves in the professional field. Through classes, workshops, choreographic processes, mentorship, community engagement, teaching, performance and more, dancers will connect and share experiences as a collective as well as expressing and gaining momentum towards their individual interests and goals beyond their time in the program. CUL·TI·VATE will embrace and support each dancer while fostering their unique artistic path centered in TU Dance’s values of excellence, belonging, creativity and transformation.  

View the 2023-2024 CUL·TI·VATE Brochure.

CUL·TI·VATE Foundations

  • Classes/Training: Continue to build on and strengthen foundations in technical practices to support the versatile dance artist of today. We believe in a multifaceted approach as well as the importance of rigor and preparing young dancers for a broad range of artistic opportunities. 
  • Engaging with Current Artists in the Dance Field: Supporting connections with current dance artists, choreographers and scholars in the field on a local, national and international level with the goal of expanding future professional opportunities beyond one’s time in the CULTIVATE program. These connections will be achieved through multiple TU Dance productions throughout the year as well as partnerships with local dance presenters and venues hosting national and international artists.
  • Career-Oriented Workshops: Tools to equip the young professional dancer of today and provide a space to foster individual artistic interests and agency to be a part of the landscape of change within the future dance.
  • Mentoring (Spring): With the goal to further support each individual artist, dancers will be paired with a mentor with an expertise in their area of interest and work towards co-creating an artist statement to utilize for auditions, workshops, etc. (Some mentoring hours may fall outside of the regularly scheduled program hours)
  • Choreographic Processes: The opportunity to be immersed in artistic processes with renowned choreographers, professional dancers as well as students from the The School at TU Dance Center in the creation of new work.
  • Self-Choreographed Solos: Each dancer will have the opportunity to create, perform and film their own solo with guidance from TU Dance’s artistic team as well as their individual mentor. 
  • Teaching: Each dancer will gain experience assisting with classes at The School at TU Dance Center. For those that feel particularly drawn to teaching, pedagogy and/or choreography, further opportunities within the school may also be discussed.
  • Community Engagement: Through TU Dance’s continued commitment to staying involved with the community and sharing the transformational power of dance, there will be opportunities to engage with our partner schools as well as other organizations within the Twin Cities. 
  • Performances: There will be 2-3 performance opportunities throughout the year.  
    • Winter Showcase, December 8-10, 2023
      • Alongside students from The School at TU Dance Center.
    • THREAT (Evening length work featuring choreography by Yusha-Marie Sorzano), April 26 & 27, 2024
      • All trainees will attend the THREAT audition (date TBD).
      • All trainees will be involved in the choreographic process.
      • Trainees might be selected by the choreographers in collaboration with TU Dance artistic director to perform in THREAT.
    • Spring Showcase: May 17-19, 2024
      • Alongside students from The School at TU Dance Center.

CUL·TI·VATE Details 

  • Age range: 18-24 
  • Audition Requirements
    • Strongly encouraged to attend the TU Dance Summer Intensive (Level 4 or 5), July 24-August 12, 2023. Please register here! (scholarships avilable)
    • If unable to attend the Summer Intensive, please email the following to laurel.keen@tudance.org and maxine.yamazaki@tudance.org by August 14, 2023. 
      • Resume and Cover Letter expressing your interest and goals for participating in CUL·TI·VATE
      • Performance Reel (3 minutes max and may include studio or performance footage which clearly shows the individual instead of group work)
    • An in-person or virtual meeting may be scheduled as part of the audition process.
    • Dancers will receive notification of their acceptance into the CUL·TI·VATE program by August 28, 2023. 
  • Yearly Schedule
    • CUL·TI·VATE is a one-year program with an option to return for a second year
    • Fall 2023:
      • September 25- December 10
      • 10-week Fall session
      • Week off: November 20-24
    • Spring 2023:
      • January 22-26, February 22-April 27 and May 8-19
      • 12-week Spring session
  • Daily Schedule
    • Monday-Friday 9:30am-4:15pm.
    • The schedule may include additional hours (evenings and/or Saturdays). Advanced notice will be provided is the schedule change. 
    • Tech Week hours may differ from the daily schedule noted above, and will be provided approximately one month in advance. Full availability is required during tech week. 
  • Compensation
    • $450/week. Trainees will be compensated as employees.
  • Location 
    • All classes, rehearsals and workshops will take place at TU Dance Center, or places determined by TU Dance.
    • Community engagement and performances may take place off-site 
  • Housing and travel are not provided 

CUL·TI·VATE Interest and Questions: For any questions about the program, and to let us know if you are taking the TU Dance Summer Program as part of the audition, please email: maxine.yamazaki@tudance.org.



Supporters Like You Make TU Dance Possible

Through performance, community engagement and education, TU Dance celebrates the connective power of dance for audiences, students and performing artists. Since our founding in 2004, generous gifts from individual donors have made this work possible. In fact, a November 2012 Minnpost article cited TU Dance among 18 highest impact nonprofits in providing access to the arts. With your donation to our annual fund, you are supporting the connective power of dance in local and touring performances, community engagement and training for students at TU Dance Center in Saint Paul. Click here to give to our annual fund through the GiveMN.org site.

Support TU Dance and The School at TU Dance Center!

Annual support from individual donors helps make it possible for TU Dance to continue to provide the needed platform where artists, students and audiences experience the connective power of dance. We ask you to consider a tax-deductible gift to TU Dance. Visit https://www.givemn.org/organization/TuDance to give online today or contact us at info@tudanc.org or ‪(651) 724-9708.
Click here to see the youth of TU Dance Center share what TU Dance means to them.

Click here for a snapshot of TU Dance in numbers.
Click here for a list of current TU Dance donors.

TU Dance was named by Minnpost among the highest impact nonprofits in providing access to the arts MinnPost, November 2012

TU Dance activities are made possible with major support from 3M Gives, Elmer L. & Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation, City of Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program, The Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, Bob and Kathie Goodale Legacy Fund, International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), Marbrook Foundation, McKnight Foundation, E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, the Archie D. & Bertha H. Walker Foundation and Minnesota State Arts Board.





Made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


Finding TU Dance Center


TU Dance Center is located at 2121 University Avenue West in the Raymond-Midway area of St. Paul, just east of Vandalia Street, directly behind Subway restaurant.  By public transit, the center is 2.5 blocks east of the Raymond Avenue LRT Station on the Green Line. By car, the center is convenient to I-94 and both downtowns. Accessible parking and wheelchair ramp access is available directly in front of our main entrance on the building’s east side.


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TU Dance Center 44.960672, -93.188353
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