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.





Photo by Michael Slobodian | Dancer: Amanda Sachs


Fall Dance Concert ▪ October 18-20, 2019

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

TU Dance’s 16th season opens at The O’Shaughnessy with an evening featuring two company premieres by Uri Sands. Something Amber (2012), originally commissioned by Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program, is a full company work inspired by an illustrious string composition by neoclassical composer Vladimir Martynov. Tracks (2018), a full company work set to the legendary sounds of R&B music’s The O’Jays and originally commissioned by Ailey II, references the markings, wounds, and scars that our history leaves on us, pathways created or followed in life, and the regimen of building railroad tracks; manual labor and the arduousness of continuing on despite life’s challenges, in an effort to create better tomorrows. The program also includes Ronald K. Brown’s Clear as Tear Water (2005), a solo originally created for Toni Pierce-Sands that explores the balance of a woman’s vulnerability and strength as she is supported by generations of women before her, and a reprisal of Sands’s Salve (2017), originally commissioned by Ballet Memphis and set to the music of Gavin Bryars, a meditative work for eight dancers that illustrates the idea of healing through the simple action of coming together.

Photo by Randy Karels | Dancers: Alanna Morris-Van Tassel and Alexis Staley


Spring Dance Concert ▪ May 1-3, 2020 (CANCELLED)

The Cowles Center, Minneapolis | Tickets | 1672754-inline-iconbwAccessibility

TU Dance’s 16th season spring concert, a riveting evening of dance features a new choreographic platform for the next generation of creative voices alongside a new work by acclaimed New York City native choreographer and founder of The Dash Ensemble, Gregory Dolbashian. Esteemed dancer, educator and choreographer Yusha-Marie Sorzano will premiere a new work that explores the process of finding harmony among the many selves and many distinct languages that make up each of us. Vanity Fare, a world premiere by City Pages 2018 “Best Choreographer” awardee Marcus Jarrell Willis, explores the struggle between the mannequin-like existence we self-assemble in life and our realistic need for human connections. Unhinged Realities (2018), a choreographic collaboration between TU Dance company member Christian Warner and Jerome Hill Artist Fellow Darrius Strong, is the study of a moment in an individual’s life where their efforts of repression and suppression fail and they must decide how to engage their life after the facades have shattered. Gregory Dolbashian’s new work utilizes fiercely energetic movement and intricate exchanges of support to demonstrate the immense power that lies within all of us when we use physical connection to transcend barriers that otherwise separate us in everyday life.

This performances has been cancelled due to COVID-19.


2019-20 Touring & Residencies Schedule

August, 2019Memphis, TNResidency, Ballet Memphis
August, 2019South Hadley, MAResidency, Mount Holyoke College
September, 2019Oslo, NorwayResidency, DiG
September 27, 2019Porsgrunn, Norwaytid for DANS – "The Duet" Public Performance, Elvespeilet (https://www.elvespeilet.no)
November 22-24, 2019Eau Claire, WI"Come Through" Public Performances, Pablo Center (https://www.pablocenter.org)
December 4 & 5, 2019Brooklyn, NY"Come Through" Public Performances, Kings Theatre (https://www.kingstheatre.com)

Booking TU Dance

For booking information, contact manager 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 Toni and Uri’s 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<<


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 for the 2020-21 season. 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 3Mgives, Aroha Philanthropies, Goodale Family Foundation, International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), Knox Foundation, Marbrook Foundation, McKnight Foundation, The Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Amazon Smile Foundation, PayPal Giving Fund and Bremer Bank




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.


loading map - please wait...

TU Dance Center 44.960672, -93.188353
TUDC sign_spc


Contact Us