April 10, 2019 Abdo Sayegh Rodriguez

Advanced Pre-Professional Summer Intensive, July 29 – August 17

Please join us for the TU Dance 2019 Advanced Pre-Professional Summer Intensive.

This program is designed for advanced pre-professional students (ages 17-24) who are interested in strengthening technique, developing their artistry and participating in a professional level creative process. Students will work with TU Dance Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, TU Dance Center teaching artists, as well as guest artists/choreographers who will be creating with the students during the 3-week intensive.

We are honored to welcome back guest artist Marcus Jarrell Willis (New York). Marcus, like Toni and Uri, danced with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for several years and has gone on to develop his own voice as a choreographer nationally and internationally. Recently, Willis was named the 2018 City Pages “Best Choreographer” for Sensible Existence, a work he created for TU Dance.

We welcome for the first time guest artist Maurya Kerr (San Francisco), who danced with Alonzo King LINES Ballet for the majority of her career and has also gone on to teach and create her own work with her company tinypistol. Kerr and TU Dance Center School Director Laurel Keen shared several years together at LINES.

Throughout the technique and workshop classes, inspiration will be drawn from the philosophies of these two iconic companies (Alvin Ailey and LINES) that are already woven into the training at TU Dance Center. In addition to these shared backgrounds, we are excited by the artistic voices that Willis and Kerr have cultivated in their own work and how they balance these two elements when working with students. There will be several in-depth discussions where students, faculty and guests will have the opportunity to engage around topics affecting the environment of young dancers today.

TU Dance Center fosters an environment where each individual is welcomed and supported as they are challenged artistically and physically through the artform of dance. Our goal is for each student to develop and incorporate new technical skills and discover a clearer sense of their artistic voice and the artistic questions they would like to pursue. The Summer Intensive will culminate in a performance opportunity for its participants.

For level placement, please contact School Director Laurel Keen at education@tudance.org or (612) 440-9028.

For more information and to register, click here.

Marcus Jarrell Willis has performed with RIOULT, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Tania Pérez-Salas Compañía de Danza and was a member of 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. He has been a resident teacher for the KCFAA Paseo Project and was a member of the KCFAA Ailey Trio, leading lecture demonstrations in schools around the Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas area. Willis is a returning teacher at Centre Chorégraphique James Carles Stage International de Danse in Toulouse, France.

He has presented his 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 include works created for Ailey II, TU Dance, Company Danzante, The Juilliard School, The Ailey School, University of Minnesota, Lucia Marthas Institute for the Performing Arts in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Satellite Collective, The Dance Gallery Festival Level Up Commission in 2013 and The 92nd Y Dance Introduction Series, among others. Willis is the Founder of MJ Willis Project-Inc, which made its debut in Wales in 2017, premiering “My Brother, Dear Sister”. He was named Best Choreographer for TU Dance creation, Sensible Existence, in City Pages 2018 Best of the Twin Cities. Currently, he is the 2018/19 Leverhulme Choreography Fellow at Rambert Dance in London.

Maurya Kerr is a choreographer, educator, performer, and the artistic director of tinypistol, where her choreographic work has been honored by numerous awards, grants, and commissions. She was an ODC artist-in-residence from 2015 to 2018, and completed her MFA through Hollins University in 2016, writing her thesis on people of color and their access to, or prohibition from, wonderment. She was a member of Alonzo King LINES Ballet for twelve years, and most recently performed in The Foundry’s Deep South, and BodyCartography Project’s felt room at SFMOMA and the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Museum. In 2017 she co-founded the tiny little get down, a quarterly dance party intended to defiantly and subversively fortify otherness through embodied joy and the power of the collective.

Photo by Laura Scher.

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