Inversion Modern Workshop with Jennifer Ilse, October 25 – December 6

TU Dance offers a 6-week Inversion Modern Dance workshop with Jennifer Ilse on Tuesdays from 8-9:30pm, October 25- December 6 (no classes November 21-27).

This workshop is for intermediate and advanced dancers with some experience in inversions, such as gymnastics, breakdancing, or yoga, or for those who get excited when there are handstands and cartwheels in modern dance classes!  Jennifer’s inversion dance is an ever-growing vocabulary that is fluid and strong, soft and powerful, while working the body with economy of movement. Drawing from modern dance and movement vocabularies in capoeira, yoga, gymnastics, Hawkins, and contemporary approaches to movement, build your movement possibilities with the full body in contact with the floor and walls.

A native of Wisconsin, Jennifer first studied dance in a professional setting in Duluth, Minnesota. She then moved to Eugene, Oregon to continue her studies at the University of Oregon. In Eugene, she also studied with the Eugene Ballet under Susan Zadoff of Ballet Russe, at the Musical Feet school of tap, and performed four seasons with the Dance Theatre of Oregon. After moving to Minneapolis in 1997 she became co-artistic director of the dance/theater/visual art hybrid company Off-Leash Area, with which she has choreographed and directed over 25 original full-length productions. She has also worked as a performer and collaborator with several choreographers in Minneapolis, including six years with Gerry Girouard in his intensely acrobatic dance work. Ilse has also worked as an educator, teaching ballet, tap and modern dance classes for adults and children, and leading dance and theater workshops in a variety of settings. She received an Artist Initiative grant in 2009 and 2012 from the Minnesota State Arts Board, was commissioned by the O’Shaughnessy in 2010, and received an MRAC/McKnight Next Step Grant in 2015. Drawing from her past work with Gerry Girouard, Jennifer developed her own vocabulary and has been teaching her Inversion Modern Dance classes for 4 years.

Cost: $85.00 or $15 for a single drop-in class (exact cash or check only at TU Dance Center).

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Picture credit: Kari Mosel

TU Dance Company Showing, November 3

 New works by Francesca Harper and Uri Sands explore contemporary tensions of race, culture and identity.

In anticipation of the TU Dance Fall Concert at the O’Shaughnessy, November 18-20, please join Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands at TU Dance Center for an informal in-studio showing on Thursday, November 3, from 5:30-6:30pm. The showcase will feature excerpts from the fall concert program, which includes two world premieres by Francesca Harper and Uri Sands.

Thursday, November 3, 2016
5:30-6:30 pm (doors open at 5:00 pm)

Parking is available in front of TU Dance Center and in the parking lot located in the north side of the building, accessible through Vandalia Street and Charles Avenue.

Photo by Michael Slobodian ©




Open Company Class with Francesca Harper, October 5 at 9:30am

Visiting choreographer Francesca Harper will be teaching a Contemporary master class as part of her choreographic residency with TU Dance.

October 5 | 9:30 – 11:00am

Cost: $14 or class card

Francesca Harper is an internationally acclaimed artist. After being named Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performing at the White House, Harper performed soloist roles with the Dance Theater of Harlem and spent several years as a principal in William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt. Her Broadway credits include Fosse, The Producers, All Shook Up, The Frogs and the Tony Award winning treasure The Color Purple. She was also a featured performer in Zinnias – The Life of Clementine Hunter directed by Robert Wilson, with Libretto by Civil Rights Activist Bernice Reagon. Her Principal acting roles include starring opposite Molly Ringwald in Sweet Charity and performing the role of Judith originated on Broadway by Judith Jamison in Sophisticated Ladies. Most recently she was invited to develop a new character for the show/experience Sleep No More. She sings every week at The McKittrick Hotel in Sleep No More in New York City as Jazz Vocalist, Cecilia Robertson, aka Ceci. Her TV appearances include two episodes of Boardwalk Empire, David Letterman and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Harper also served as ballet consultant for the feature film, Black Swan, by Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman, who went on to win an Oscar.  In January 2015, Harper was cast in the leading role of Amandla, in the play entitled, The CA Lyons Project, at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Harper has choreographed works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Tanz Graz, Hubbard Street II, Dallas Black Dance Theater, and her own company, The Francesca Harper Project, which was founded in 2005. Harper is the director of her own company, The Francesca Harper Project (FHP) which has been presented nationally and internationally. Harper is an adjunct professor at New York University, has been a resident artist at Harvard University, Associate Professor at Barnard College, and continues the vital role of teacher and choreographer for The Ailey School, Fordham University’s BFA Program and the Susan Batson Studio led by Award Winner Susan Batson. She was also the recipient of the Innovation and Technology Award for Louis Vuitton Reconstruction 3.0 for New York Fashion Week 2013 at Lincoln Center. She was honored with a Living History Award during Black History Month. For the 2016/2017 season she is remounting Creatures of Prometheus originally created for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, with her company the Francesca Harper project. She has also received a residency at New York University’s Ballet Center from January 2017 to May 2017 and will be creating a world premiere entitled, #yourstory.  She is also co-presenting a fashion line for fashion week in 2016 with Elias Gurrola, fellow Louis Vuitton Innovation and Technology award recipient. Her world premiere System, created for the Dance Theater of Harlem will have its debut on October 1, 2017.

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