Sensible Existence Showing | April 28

Please join us for an informal in-studio showing featuring Sensible Existence, a TU Dance project with choreography by Marcus Jarrell Willis. In anticipation for our live performances at The O’Shaughnessy of St. Catherine University on May 13 & 14 at 7:30pm, we invite you to attend this event and get an up-close and personal look into the creation of this work, and have the opportunity to meet the artists involved. 

Sensible Existence Showing

April 28 | 5:30-6:30pm | TU Dance Center

This event is free and open to the public with a maximum capacity of 75 guest. First come, first served. RSVP required here! We are not receiving any more registrations for this event.

TU Dance Center is located at 2121 University Avenue West, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55114. Find us on the north side of University Avenue, one block east of Vandalia, located directly behind Subway on the building’s east side. Limited parking is available in the lot in front of TU Dance Center. Additional parking is available in the north side lot accessible by taking Vandalia St. and Charles Ave.

Urban Bush Women’s Technique & Repertory Master Class | April 21

TU Dance and Northrop presents “Urban Bush Women’s Technique & Repertory Master Class”. Participants will explore Urban Bush Women’s legacy works and learn phrases from repertory included in their upcoming Legacy + Lineage + Liberation concert performance. They will also engage in movement study rooted in the “Liberated Pelvis,” a movement methodology created by Co-Artistic Director Samantha Speis, that acts as a portal to enter a durational investigative process, in order to develop an artistic expression that can create specific narratives or delineate abstract designs. Within this process, Participants will be asked to interrogate their discoveries and knowings through an improvisational framework of duration, permission, play, and transparency, in addition to organized movement. This master class is for pre-professional students. 

Thursday, April 21 | 4:30-6:00pm at TU Dance Center

Cost: Free

Due to limited studio capacity, pre-registration is required. Please complete your pre-registration here.

See UBW live April 23rd at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University:

Photo by Dale Dong

Master Class with Marcus Jarrell Willis | April 30

Join us as visiting choreographer Marcus Jarrell Willis teaches a Modern/Contemporary class at TU Dance Center. The class is a blend of familiar Horton-based technique exercises with other modern release forms during the warm-up portion. The remainder of the class is an exploration of the continuous development of Marcus’ own signature language through gestural and contemporary forms of modern dance movement. This class is designed for an advanced/pre-professional level.

April 30, 2022 | 12:30-2:00pm

Cost Options: $20

Please select one option :
Student Name and Zip Code:

*Proof of full vaccination (including booster) or negative test within 72 hours + masks are required at the door for all in-person participants. Please read TU Dance Community Safety Statement.

*Pre-Registration is required as in-studio space is limited. Please complete the Pre-Registration Form here!

Marcus Jarrell Willis has performed with RIOULT, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Tania Pérez- Salas Compañía de Danza and Ailey II. Willis performed with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 2008-2016, traveling around the world performing, teaching numerous masterclasses and participating through Outreach in various communities, both locally and abroad. As a teaching artist, he has engaged with Rambert Dance Professional Program, Tring Park Performing Arts School, TU Dance, Joffrey Southwest Dallas, Centre Chorégraphique James Carles, Amsterdam Dance Centre and various training programs, universities and conservatoires, globally. Willis is a YoungArts Level 1 award recipient and Presidential Scholar Nominee.

Willis has presented choreographic work in the 2009 TDDC Contemporary Dance Festival in NYC, The Ailey Dancer’s Resource Fund performances, The Dance Gallery Festival, The Moving Beauty Series and Gdánsk Festival Tańca in Poland. Commissions, residencies and film creations include works for Ailey II, TU Dance, NY Choreographic Institute, with dancers of New York City Ballet, Company Danzante, Ballet Cymru, The Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, The Ailey School, University of Minnesota, Lucia Marthas Institute for the Performing Arts, Rubicon Dance, COCA, Satellite Collective, The Dance Gallery Festival Level Up Commission in 2013 and The 92nd Y Dance Introduction Series, among others. He was named Best Choreographer for TU Dance creation, Sensible Existence in City Pages 2018 Best of the Twin Cities. Willis was the 2018/19 Leverhulme Choreography Fellow at Rambert Dance in London, during which time he completed the evening length solo creation POM/POM, Portrait of Man/ Pieces of Me and created work with selected dancers of Rambert 2. Most recently, he was appointed the role of Resident Choreographer for Ballet Cymru in Newport, Wales UK, and is continuing the journey of building choreographic works for his independent dance performance project, MJ Willis Project-Inc.

Photo by Stephan Chouan

Class + Connect | Traditional Flow: African Dance and Yoga with Kenna

Please join us this Spring for a series of 3 open adult class offerings (each offering will include 4 weekly classes) featuring 3 different Twin Cities teaching artists. Join for all 3 offerings or drop-in as your schedule allows. Each class will be followed by an optional time to connect with one another over coffee/tea provided by TU Dance — either socially distanced in our green room space or outside on the loading dock, weather permitting. We hope to create a space where people can explore movement and dance but also build community by staying to connect through conversation and reflection of their shared experience.

A 90-minute movement class where we explore traditional and contemporary West African dances. Using authentic recordings, Kenna will teach movements from different dances, stringing them together into a choreographic routine. The class winds down with stretching and breath-driven movements one might find in a vinyasa yoga class, but still influenced with afro flavor. All ages, levels and abilities are welcome, and the class is intentionally designed to be rigorous for those with experience in Afro dance styles.

Saturdays, May 7,  14, 21 & 28 | 4-5:30 pm (CST)

Cost Options: $12 or $15 (sliding scale)(previously purchased class cards accepted)

*Proof of full vaccination or negative test within 72 hours + masks are required at the door for all in-person participants. Please read TU Dance Community Safety Statement.

*Pre-Registration is required as in-studio space is limited. Please complete the Pre-Registration Form here!

Kenna-Camara Cottman is Black, non-binary, and repping North Minneapolis, Mni Sota Makoce home of the Bdote. Kenna is a school bus driver and also runs Voice of Culture Drum and Dance, where we create Black space for practicing cultural arts and liberation. Next project: Kenna will open a thrift shop at called House of Culture, please donate your cool clothes and cultural items! Kenna has taught many things including elementary school, college level dance, and now yoga at 612Jungle in Minneapolis (Black Woman Owned Hip Hop Yoga Studio). Kenna has worked many places including Franklin Middle School, the MN State Fair, and at a coffee shop. Kenna is a proud prayer of BodyPrayers, a musician & vocalist, and a Cultural Artist/Educator, among other things. Kenna is the child of community parents Bill and Beverly Cottman, and the mother of Yonci Peaceful and Ebrima Baye.

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