TU Dance Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands are pleased to announce the hiring of Laurel Keen as Director of the School at TU Dance Center. Keen, whose outstanding performing career includes nearly a decade with the San Francisco’s renowned Alonzo King Lines Ballet in San Francisco, will provide day-to-day leadership of the rapidly growing dance education program.
“Laurel’s fresh perspective on training for aspiring young dancers, coupled with her unparalleled ability, wisdom and breadth of knowledge in the field of contemporary ballet, will have a profound impact on TU Dance Center students,” noted Toni and Uri. “How fortunate we are that Laurel——one of the leading contemporary dance artists of this era——has chosen to deepen her work in dance, here at home in the Twin Cities.”
Laurel Keen has been a professional dancer since 1999 and has also been teaching dance for the last decade. As a student she trained at Minnesota Dance Theatre and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and attended several renowned summer programs. After performing professionally with Minnesota Dance Theater, she spent a decade alongside Alonzo King from LINES Ballet in San Francisco, where she originated 21 roles, earned the prestigious Princess Grace Award, and was featured on the covers of Dance and Pointe magazines. Laurel recently moved back to the Twin Cities and earned her degree as Physical Therapist Assistant, working with Reynolds Rehab and Orthology Physical Therapy. She has also been teaching for several schools in the Twin Cities including The School at TU Dance Center.
Founded in 2011 to provide excellent and accessible training for aspiring young dancers, the School at TU Dance Center has recently experienced significant growth, leading to an expansion at the current University Avenue facility, located in St. Paul’s Raymond-Midway neighborhood. Over 150 students are now enrolled in TU Dance programs, ranging from introductory classes for young children to advanced training for pre-professional dance artists.
“I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the school at TU Dance Center from the very beginning,” said Keen. “It has been a joy to watch it change and unfold into the unique, diverse and thriving school it is today. I feel humbled and grateful that Toni and Uri have entrusted me with this new role and the opportunity to join the TU Dance family in a more substantial way. I look forward to getting to know each individual student and helping them develop confidence in their voice, not only as a dancer, but as a human being. I hope to bring my experience to the table to support and carry out the vision that Toni and Uri have imagined for the School at TU Dance Center.”