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 ▪ May 12 & 13, 2023

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

The 3-Women Project will feature choreographic works from a group of three internationally  renowned black female artists who will each work individually within their own creative processes while simultaneously seeking to explore and discover synergistic and unifying themes throughout the process. The project will incorporate educational opportunities and culminate in live, in-person performances in May, 2023. The choreographers include Stephanie Batten Bland, Alanna Morris, and Yusha-Marie Sorzano. TU Dance seeks to create artistic space for these three dynamic and award-winning dance artists to share their distinctly strong voices in choreographic work and their deep investment and investigations into their own artistic practice and identity as black women. TU Dance looks forward to engaging with our community to share and celebrate the perspectives of these three women through this exciting and ambitious project. (TU Dance_Press Release_The 3-Women Project)

May 12 & 13, 2023 | 7:30pm

Ticket Prices:  $35; Seniors: $30; Students: $30 

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

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.

Photos: Yusha-Marie Sorzano by Eric Politzer; Alanna Morris by Canaan Mattson; Stephanie Batten Bland by Christaan Felber.





Touring & Residencies Schedule

No tours are scheduled at this time

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 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<<



A Trainee Program

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.  


  • 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. 
  • 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. The Fall portion of the program will include an opportunity for dancers to work on and build their personal resume and video reel in preparation for the audition experience
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Performance: There will be 2-3 performance opportunities throughout the year.  
    • Winter Showcase: December 10 & 11, 2022
      • Alongside students from The School at TU Dance Center.
    • Three Women Project: Tentative dates: May 6 & 7, 2023
      • All trainees will attend the Three Women Project audition.
      • 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 the Three Women Project.
    • Spring Student Showcase: Tentative dates: May 20 & 21, 2023
      • 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 25-August 13, 2022. Enrollment for single weeks is available. Scholarships available!
    • If unable to attend the Summer Intensive, please email the following to laurel.keen@tudance.org by August 15, 2022. 
      • 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 29, 2022. 
  • Yearly Schedule
    • CUL·TI·VATE is a one-year program with an option to return for a second year
    • Fall 2022: October 3- December 11, 2022
      • 9-week Fall session.
    • Spring 2023 Dates: February 13- May 21, 2023 
      • 12-week Spring session excluding Spring break.
      • 2-week unpaid Spring break (dates TBD depending on the Three Women Project).
  • Daily Schedule
    • Monday-Friday 9:30am-4:15pm.
    • Schedule may include extended hours (evenings) and Saturdays. 
    • 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/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: laurel.keen@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 Foundation, City of Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, The Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, Bob and Kathie Goodale Legacy Fund, International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), Knox Foundation, Marbrook Foundation, McKnight Foundation, E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, Minnesota State Arts Board, The Saint Paul Foundation.





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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