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

TU Dance Makes Miami Debut

TU Dance has just returned from an extraordinary week in Miami, where the company made its debut performance near Uri’s childhood home at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center on Saturday evening. The program featured three works by Uri Sands – High Heel Blues, One, and Hikari – as well as Complexions Contemporary Ballet choreographer Dwight Rhoden’s If And Or. Click here to read the Miami Herald’s review: A Moving Homecoming.

The week included a range of outreach activities, engaging the Miami community in dance through workshops, lecture-demonstrations, and classes including a Creative Movement community class at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center.
Uri’s visit to his childhood neighborhood was the subject of a Miami Herald feature last Sunday.

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