Improvisation class with Hijack, April-May 2017

HIJACK is the choreographic collaboration of Kristin Van Loon & Arwen Wilder. Van Loon & Wilder each grew up in Chicago, met at Colorado College, and established their collaboration in Minneapolis in 1993. HIJACK will be teaching a series of classes at TU Dance Center.

Saturdays, April 29 and May 6, 20 and 27


Cost: $14/class or class cards

HIJACK has taught and performed in New York (at DTW, PS122, HERE ArtCenter, Catch/Movement Research Festival, La Mama, Dixon Place, Chocolate Factory, Brooklyn Studios for Dance), Japan, Russia, Central America, Ottawa, Chicago, Colorado, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, Iowa, Portland at Bates Festival, Fuse Box Festival and Seattle Festival for Dance Improvisation (SFDI).  HIJACK teaches Composition/Improvisation/Contact Improvisation at the University of Minnesota. They have taught Improvisation/Contact Improvisation at Zenon Dance School every Wednesday morning since 2000.  With Body Cartography, HIJACK co-curates Future Interstates, a bi-monthly showcase for improvisation dance performance, at the Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts. In 2013, Walker Art Center celebrated the 20th anniversary of HIJACK by commissioning the full-evening work “redundant, ready, reading, radish, Red Eye”.  In 2014, Contact Quarterly published the chapbook “Passing For Dance — a HIJACK reader”.  HIJACK is currently “occupying” the Walker Art Center Mediatheque: making and performing dances in a small cinema with avant garde film.

TU Dance named “Best Dance Company” by City Pages – Best of the Twin Cities 2017!

Best Dance Company

TU Dance

The TU dancers continue to electrify the local scene, especially in their performance of Uri Sands’ Matter last November. The work drew on the dancers’ personal responses to recent instances of violence and racism with urgency. Sands’ complex choreography requires the exacting clarity of ballet melded with scrappy street smarts and urban syncopations. The 10 TU dancers met these demands and raised the ante, moving with the buoyancy of swimmers and the brazen attack of Katniss Everdeen on a mission, demonstrating that they felt equally at home in the air or on the ground. Within the communal framework of Matter, dancers showed startling individuality: Kaitlen Setzke Bell’s blend of precision and wildness, Youthen Joseph’s snaky street grace, Darwin Black’s effortless cool. Perhaps Alanna Morris-Van Tassel best captured the spirit of Matter in a solo where, wrapped in an American flag, she presented a body unhinged, vulnerable, and despairing.

Midday Adult Beginning Modern with Thern Anderson, May 1-22

This 4-week workshop with Thern will teach body and spacial awareness, rhythm and phrasing, ensemble dancing and injury prevention through modern dance patterns and improvisation.

Thern Anderson started dancing at the University of Minnesota and perform with Choreogram Dance Company.  She has taught to all ages and abilities in Washington, DC, Portland, OR and Minneapolis, MN.

Mondays, May 1-22, 12:00-1:30pm

Cost: $55 (pre-registration required)

Looks like you have entered a product ID (63) that doesn't exist in the product database. Please check your product ID value again!

Modern class with Robin Stiehm, April 26

Robin Stiehm’s class will utilize a diverse range of movement techniques, reflecting her varied dance experiences of over 40 years. Students will find a release into the floor, leading to strong standing movement and finally full-bodied airborne dancing. Class will begin with a basic alignment-focused warm-up, preparing the dancer for phrase work, partnering and improvisation exercises.

Wednesday, April 26 | 4:30-6:00pm
Cost: $14/class or class card

Robin Stiehm received her early training at the Minnesota Dance Theatre, under the direction of Loyce Houlton. She danced with MDT, New Dance Ensemble, and many others in Minneapolis before forming her own group, Dancing People Company, in 1994. After DPC’s decade in Mpls., Robin moved the company to Ashland, OR where she was Artistic Director for another 13 years before stepping down. Robin has choreographed for over 25 years, both with Dancing People and companies in the US. With DPC, Robin has toured extensively and taught at international festivals and universities in Russia, Europe and the US. She is currently on the faculty of the Escuela Profesional de Danza de Mazatlan and also guest teaches in the US.

Open Class with Eva Mohn, April 12

Cullberg Ballet dancer and former TU Dance Company member Eva Mohn returns to the Twin Cities to teach this Wednesday, April 12th from 9:30-11:00am. Advanced/Professional Contemporary Class exploring both barre and center work.

Cost: $14/class, $120/10-class card (cash, check or credit card).

To learn more about Eva, please visit:

Photo by Urban Jörén

Dance unites Minneapolis high school students from opposite sides of the city, by Beena Raghavendran, Star Tribune, April 5, 2017

Under ordinary circumstances, the 40 students from North and Southwest high schools would never have met. Ten miles of Minneapolis and a world of differences divide them.

But there they were, twisting and leaping over one another at the Guthrie Theater last week in a performance that celebrated teen spirit, dance legacy and the bridge-building power of the arts.

“There’s something incredibly unique about sharing a stage with people,” said Sophia Meza, a Southwest senior.

For the past month, they’d been carpooling and busing across the city to rehearsals, learning how to move together, work together, to give and take time in the spotlight.

In practice, shy underclassmen leapt out of their shells. Veterans took front-row spots, imagining their futures on stage. They started out as strangers, but in the end hooted for one another and hugged, bound by the power of performance.

The March matchup started as a question from the Minneapolis School District, backed by a grant from the Martha Gould Fund at the Minneapolis Foundation: What if kids across the city danced together?

Cultural divisions are clear. North dance teacher Tamiko French doesn’t think many kids from North go to the south part of the city, except for trips to the Mall of America. More people from south Minneapolis have traveled to Europe than have driven into the North Side, Southwest dance teacher Colleen Callahan-Russell remembered hearing.

“There’s no occasion for them, or there wasn’t, to go across town,” she said.

But once the dance project started, a common interest became clear. The dancers from Southwest were “actually as committed as me,” said North High junior Ricquel Williams.

‘1, 2, 3, family’

African drumbeats pulsed over studio speakers at each joint rehearsal, like a clock ticking closer to performance time.

In early March, with less than a month to go before the final performance, the Southwest dancers piled into North High’s studio for rehearsal, some late because of navigation mishaps. As they practiced their steps, guest choreographer Toni Pierce-Sands of St. Paul-based TU Dance Company drilled and staged, sewing together pieces of the dance they’d learned.

With free time scarce, the Southwest kids were out the door soon after they arrived, leaving North to practice their group number alone.

Two weeks until showtime and the kids were in a studio at the University of Minnesota’s Barbara Barker Center for Dance. Despite the time constraints, kids were bonding. A group of girls went again and again through a line dance with tricky counts that demanded spins at precise moments.

All the kids who packed rehearsals in leggings and T-shirts are advanced dancers. About 30 of them were from Southwest and a group of eight were from North, including a stage manager. Southwest’s enrollment is more than four times the size of North’s, which holds nearly 400 students this year.

Malik Marcus was the sole male dancer from North High. Just a freshman, he choreographed the boys’ combination, a center-stage explosion of jumps over each other’s heads and log rolls on the dance floor.

Marcus used to be shy, but French saw the choreographic potential in his freestyle hip-hop and drew him in. Marcus called the Southwest kids “some of the coolest people” he’s ever met.

Being with the North crew felt natural for Iman and Khadijah Siferllah-Griffin, Southwest seniors and twin sisters.

“I saw family in them,” Khadijah said.

As if to spell that out, one long rehearsal ended in a giant group hug among the boys with a chant — “1, 2, 3, family!”

It’s showtime

Then, ready or not, it was performance day. A quick run-through of their set onstage and cleanup rehearsal. Homework and naps in the Guthrie hallways. Their five-minute dance in the 8:40 p.m. slot loomed.

The theater building had the buzz of a performing arts school as around 900 Minneapolis students readied to perform in annual district arts showcase Viva City, held at the Guthrie for the first time.

With minutes left before their performance, French and Callahan-Russell motioned through the piece’s finale, their short dance duet, in an offstage corner. After years of working together, this was a farewell: Callahan-Russell will retire at the end of the school year.

In her 35-year tenure teaching dance in the district, Callahan-Russell remembers North’s arts heyday. She taught dance there when it was an arts magnet. French, a 1997 North alumnae, was one of her students. Resources were plentiful. The program was rich.

When Callahan-Russell moved to Southwest in the late 1990s, a dance program didn’t exist there, she said. Now, kids like the Siferllah-Griffin twins pick Southwest because of its dance focus. Ten of the district’s schools offer dance during the daytime curriculum, including five high schools.

“It balances their life,” Callahan-Russell said. She’ll miss watching the kids — her kids — grow.

The kids loved Pierce-Sands, a sweet but direct choreographer who was Callahan-Russell’s first guest artist at North. It was fitting that she round out the last dance.

The Southwest seniors will move on, Meza to the University of Minnesota for a major in dance and political science, the twins deciding between dance opportunities and school — or maybe both. French will keep building dance at North, training underclassmen like Marcus.

Callahan-Russell said her kids are aching for future collaborations, and next time, with chances to get to know one another better.

Seconds left now. Teachers and students clad in full white glowed against the red velvet of the Guthrie’s McGuire Proscenium Stage, school allegiances indistinguishable as they shifted in their seats, waiting their turn.

Then it was places onstage, and lights. The familiar African drumbeats began to pound. And together in their bare feet, they danced.


2- Hour In-Depth Classes, April 10-14

TU Dance Center is offering a series of In-Depth classes for dancers who would like to expand their knowledge or would like to try new techniques or forms of dance. These classes are for Intermediate/Advanced students.

Monday, April 10
Contemporary Floor Work with TU Dance company member Adam McGaw
Class Description: Using the floor as the essential component for full body connectivity and awareness, this technique class will work to build familiarity with the floor and how we can use it to its fullest potential. We will utilize a progression that takes the dancer from the floor to vertical, while exploring the movement possibilities between those two places. We will roll, slide, crawl, fall, expand, collapse, spiral, resist and much more. Participants are encouraged to wear long sleeve shirts, pants and socks due to the significant amount of time spent on the floor.

Tuesday, April 11
AFASAM: Contemporary Dance inspired by Africa, Asia and America with Michel Kouakou 
Class Description: The class is called “AFASAM”, a dance style inspired by the blends of techniques of formal dance
training from three continents combined with a contemporary notion. The name AFASAM was derived from the first two alphabetical letters of three continents, Africa, Asia and America. In this movement vocabulary, I based the in depth experience on how to unleash a contained moving body within its spiritual realm while being rhythmically present in space. The Blend of West African dances mostly known for their spiritual and percussive orientation with Butoh, deals with the inner part of the body alongside the western Modern dance technique that emphasizes the alignment of the body and space combining to create a free flow and dynamic movement that describes the spectrum of the AFASAM Technique.

Wednesday, April 12
Composition and Improvisation with Wynn Fricke 
Class description:  This class will use solo and group improvisation as a means to explore, in a relaxed way, the tools of the choreographer: space, time, and energy. We will work with visual imagery as a starting point to choreograph short solos that will be the basis of small group compositions. We will build partnering skills as part of this exploration.

Thursday, April 13
Ballet with Jeffrey Hankinson
Class Description: This two-hour ballet class will have elements of traditional Russian Vagonova technique along with contemporary ballet technique for the intermediate to advanced dancer with emphasis on correct placement, strength and stamina. The two hours allows for a deeper exploration of ballet pedagogy starting with barre exercises that build into center combinations, ending with grand allegro and reverence.

Friday, April 14
Gaga/Dancer Class with Berit Ahlgren
Class Description: Gaga/dancer classes are taught by dancers who have worked closely with Ohad Naharin, and guide the participants using a series of evocative instructions that build one on top of the other. Rather than copying a particular movement, each participant in the class actively explores these instructions, discovering how he or she can interpret the information and perform the task at hand. Gaga/dancer classes offer a creative framework for participants to connect to their bodies and imaginations, increase their physical awareness, improve their flexibility and stamina, and experience the pleasure of movement in a welcoming, accepting atmosphere. Participants should wear comfortable clothes and be prepared to dance barefoot or in socks. It is advisable to bring a bottle of water and a towel for use after class.

Daily, 4:30-6:30pm

Cost: $18/class or $80/5 2-hour classes (pre-registration required, classes might be cancelled if the minimum number of students is not reached)

*Intermediate/Advanced Level

For more information contact us at or 612-605-1925

Teen/Adult Jazz Workshop with Mary Ann Bradley, January 30-March 27 & April 17-June 5

Using a vernacular style rooted in the historical forms of Jazz, this class focuses on developing musicality, spatial awareness, and personal expression. Emphasis will be on using healthy technique to increase coordination, access ease of movement, and most importantly, finding the pleasure in moving with others.

Mary Ann Bradley has been dancing and teaching professionally for 20 years. Currently a member of Zenon Dance Company, she was the Assistant to the Choreographer with JAZZDANCE! By Danny Buraczeski and a founding member of TU Dance. She is a two time recipient of the McKnight Fellowship for Dancers and was named “25 To Watch in 2014” by Dance Magazine.

Mondays, 6:30-8:00pm

Session 1: January 30 – March 27 | Cost: $122
Session 2: April 17 – June 5 | Cost: $110

Size :

Teen/Adult Hip-Hop Workshop with Darrius Strong, February 1-March 29 & April 19-June 7

This workshop will focus on strength in the body, refining muscle memory through phrase work, and cardio work. In addition to learning more about the history and power of hip hop, students can expect to get the full-body experience. Good music, good vibes.

Darrius Strong is a Twin Cities-based choreographer, dancer and educator whose creative work has been chosen for the Walker Art Center Choreographers’ Evening, Rhythmically Speaking, The American College Dance Festival, the University of Minnesota’s University Dance Theatre, and was featured in the New Griots Festival at the Phoenix Theater in Minneapolis. Darrius has created works for Threads Dance Project, Flying Foot Forum, Alternative Motion Project, St. Olaf College, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and many more high schools in Minnesota. He also shared two evenings of work: “Ipseity”, and his most recent work, “Access Granted”. Strong served as a 2016 Sage Award panelist and developed his own dance company, STRONGmovement (, in 2015.  Hip Hop is Darrius‘ foundation, as he developed love for it at a young age in the south side of Chicago. He has been an educator of the form for seven years.

Wednesdays, 7:30-9:00pm

Session 1: February 1 – March 29 | Cost: $122
Session 2: April 19 – June 7 | Cost: $110

Looks like you have entered a product ID (25) that doesn't exist in the product database. Please check your product ID value again!

Adult Beginning Modern with Thern Anderson, February 1-March 29 & April 19-June 7

This workshop with Thern will teach body and spacial awareness, rhythm and phrasing, ensemble dancing and injury prevention through modern dance patterns and improvisation.

Thern Anderson started dancing at the University of Minnesota and perform with Choreogram Dance Company.  She has taught to all ages and abilities in Washington, DC, Portland, OR and Minneapolis, MN.

Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30pm

Session 1: February 1 – March 29 | Cost: $122
Session 2: April 19 – June 7 | Cost: $110

Workshop (please select on option) :
Student Name:

Contact Us