Community Class with Alanna Morris | March 18, 2023

This community class is part of a series of classes at TU Dance Center in connection with The 3-Women Project.

Alanna Morris’s workshop in contemporary forms is designed to build community and encourage confidence in your creative expression. Expect citations from African diasporic movement, music and philosophy–specifically Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Cuba, and the Malinke signatures of West Africa. Also citations from Classical Ballet (Cecchetti style), American Modern Dance techniques (Graham and Limón mainly), Yoga, Somatics, and Postural Restoration. This class is for Intermediate/Advanced students. 

Saturday, March 18 | 1:15-2:45pm (in-person only)

Please select one option :
Student Name and Zip Code:

Please complete this Registration form

Alanna Morris, self-identified as Afro Caribbean American, is a 2022 Springboard Danse Montréal Fellow, 2021 McKnight Choreographers Fellow, 2019 City Pages Artist of the Year/Best Choreographer, and one of Dance Magazine’s 2018 “25 to Watch.” Formerly a TU Dance company member, her choreography has been commissioned by TU Dance for the inaugural performance of CULTIVATE, A Trainee Program, Springboard Dance Montréal, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, and others.

Photo by Canaan Mattson

The 3-Women Project by TU Dance | Audition Notice

AUDITION:  The 3-Women Project by TU Dance

Featuring choreographers Stefanie Batten Bland, Yusha-Marie Sorzano and Alanna Morris.

TU Dance seeks dance artists for The 3-Women Project featuring choreographic works from a group of three internationally renowned black female artists who will each work individually within their own creative processes while simultaneously seeking to explore and discover synergistic and unifying themes throughout the process. The project will incorporate educational opportunities and culminate in live, in-person performances in May, 2023 at The O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul, Minnesota. Through this 11-week creative process, TU Dance seeks to create artistic space for these three dynamic and award-winning dance artists to share their distinctly strong voices in choreographic work and their deep investment and investigations into their own artistic practice and identity as black women. TU Dance looks forward to engaging with local and national dance artists and our community to share and celebrate the perspectives of these three women through this exciting and ambitious project. 

*We have a strong interest in cultivating a culturally diverse group of dance artists for this project and creating a cast that represents our diverse world. Seasoned professionals to emerging dance artists with a minimum of 5 years of professional dance experience are encouraged to apply. 

The Choreographers: 

Stephanie Batten Bland, self-identified as American of African and European heritage, is the founder of SBB Company and a Jerome Robbins Awardee whose choreography is in active repertory at American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey II, and Frontier Danceland in Singapore. Her work has recently been commissioned by Baryshnikov Arts Center and Duke Performances and American Ballet Theatre’s inaugural Women’s Movement Initiative, among others. More about Stefanie here.

Alanna Morris, self-identified as Afro Caribbean American, is a 2022 Springboard Danse Montréal Fellow, 2021 McKnight Choreographers Fellow, 2019 City Pages Artist of the Year/Best Choreographer, and one of Dance Magazine’s 2018 “25 to Watch.” Formerly a TU Dance company member, her choreography has been commissioned by TU Dance for the inaugural performance of CULTIVATE, A Trainee Program, Springboard Dance Montréal, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, and others. More about Alanna here.

Yusha-Marie Sorzano, self-identified as Afro Caribbean American, is a current member of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, BFA Director at CalArts School of Dance and founding co-artistic director of Zeitgeist Dance Theatre who has also appeared with TU Dance as a featured dancer several times. Her choreography has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Idaho, Santa Barbara Dance Theater, and elsewhere. More about Yusha here.


  • 11 week rehearsal process: February 27- May 13, 2023
  • Daily Schedule: 9:30am-4:15pm CST Monday- Friday
    • Includes morning classes
    • Please note that some rehearsals may be scheduled outside of these hours and in these cases, advanced notice will be given. 
  • In-Studio Showings: One or more In-Studio Showings may be scheduled during evening hours – advanced notice will be given.
  • Tech Week: May 8-13, 2023 
    • Please hold evening and weekend hours during tech week. Tech schedule will be sent with as much notice as possible. 
  • Performances: Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13 at The O’Shaughnessy, St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Dancers will be compensated $650/week and hired as employees.
    • A limited amount is available for airfare and housing – please inquire if you are a national dance artist interested in the project. 


  • Please email Maxine Yamazaki, Audition Coordinator at as soon as possible to receive the vimeo link to The 3-Women Project Video Audition Phrases and film yourself doing these phrases along with submitting ALL audition materials (see details below). Deadline extended to December 3 for all video only submissions, including dancers outside of Minnesota or local dance artists not able to attend the live audition. 
  • For dancers residing in Minnesota: you will receive an email response by November 28 with an update about participating in the live audition. 
    • Live audition date: Saturday, December 3, 4:30-8:30pm 
      • Location: TU Dance Center: 2121 University Ave, St. Paul, MN 55114
    • Following the live audition, you will be notified by December 16 with an update on casting for the project. 
  • For dancers outside of Minnesota: You will receive an email notification by December 16 with an update on casting for the project.  
  • Please note that all dancers must be currently authorized to work in the U.S.  
  • There is no fee to audition.

MATERIALS TO SUBMIT (deadline extended to December 3 for video only submissions) 

  • Video responding to The 3 Women Project Video Audition Phrases (please email to receive the vimeo link) 
  • Cover Letter (written or video submissions are welcomed) 
    • Summarize your experience and its relevance for this project
    • Please also include reflections/responses to the following two questions: 
      • What is something that you are currently exploring within your artistic practice?
      • What do you hope to gain from this process? 
  • Resume
  • Headshot
  • Video Reel
    • 3 minute maximum
    • Clear footage that shows the entire body
    • Performance or studio footage (must include some repertory work and improvisation) 
    • No class footage please

Thank you for your interest in The 3-Women Project by TU Dance

Please reach out to with any questions! 

Photo (left to right): Yusha-Marie Sorzano by Eric Politzer, Alanna Morris by Canaan Mattson and Stephanie Batten Bland by Christaan Felber.


TU Dance Winter Showcase | Dec. 9-11, 2022

Join us for our first TU Dance Winter Showcase at a local theater, and the inaugural performances of CULTIVATE, A Trainee Program featuring works created by local and national guest artists for CULTIVATE, A Trainee Program, and for The School at TU Dance Center’s Pre-Professional Levels 4 & 5. The CULTIVATE dancers will perform works by renowned choreographers Alanna Morris from I A.M. Arts and Gregory Dolbashian from The DASH Ensemble while Levels 4 & 5 students will showcase works by New York choreographer Stephon Williams and also Alanna Morris. Let’s celebrate these inspiring dancers and their dedication!

December 9 & 10, 2022 Doors at 6:30pm | Show at 7:30pm

December 11, 2022 Doors at 1:00pm | Show at 2:00pm

The Southern Theater | 1420 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55454

To purchase tickets click here!

Informal Showing at TU Dance Center

November 16, 2022 | 5:30-6:30pm

TU Dance Center | 2121 University Avenue W., Saint Paul, MN 55114

Join us for the opportunity to watch excerpts of the works to be performed by our CULTIVATE and Level 4 & 5 dancers at the Winter Showcase. During this event attendees will be able to meet the dancers and choreographers Alanna Morris and Gregory Dolbashian and have an up-close and personal experience before attending the public performance.

Space is limited. Please RSVP here!

Limited parking is available in front of TU Dance Center. Additional parking is available in the lot located in the north side of the TU Dance Center building which is accessible through Vandalia Avenue.

Flow Space | Class With Guest Artist Gregory Dolbashian, November 17

Join us for Flow Space, an atmosphere that allows for the act of “pure play” to help dance artists use more capacity, intellect, sense, courage, and imagination in their movement styles. Conducted by director of The DASH Ensemble, Gregory Dolbashian, the class is a highly developed series of improvisational tools and games that warms and pushes both the mind and the body to break habits and fulfill more presence. These exercises are all methods that Gregory has developed and utilized to create movement with The DASH. The artists learn confidence not just in themselves but also in the environment that they are a part of. Games and tasks work both on the individual and in tandem, so that Flow Space creates a community for progress, inspiration, and most of all, discovery. Class is for dancers aged 16+.

Thursday, November 17th, 2022 | 4:30-6:00pm (CST)

TU Dance Center, 2121 University Ave. W., Saint Paul, MN 55114

Cost: $20 per participant

Student Name & Email Address:

Please complete this registration form.

*Unless otherwise noted, masks are required at the door for all in-person participants.

GREGORY DOLBASHIAN – Born and raised in New York City Gregory received his dance training at the Alvin Ailey School, then graduated cum laude from SUNY Purchase dance conservatory. He debuted his own company, The DASH Ensemble, in December 2010 at The JOYCE SoHo. DASH Company performance credits include The JOYCE Theater, Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York Live Arts, Guggenheim Works and Process Series, Kaatsbaan as well as domestic touring all over the U.S. including Dallas, L.A., and North Carolina. Gregory, in partnership with dance education specialist Lindsey Pettus, is also the co-founder of The DASH Academy. He has been commissioned for original works by American Ballet Theater, Atlanta Ballet, American Dance Festival, and most recently for Limon Dance Company’s newly formed Limon 2 . Awards for Choreography Hubbard Street 2 International Competition, Ballet Austin’s New American Talent. His collegiate and training program commissions include Juilliard, Point Park, LINES Ballet, NYU, and SUNY Purchase. Faculty positions include Broadway Dance Center, Gibney Dance, and Peridance Capezio Center. He has conducted multiple masterclasses around the country including Juilliard, NYU, UNCSA, UC Irvine, SUNY Purchase, and Point Park. In addition, Gregory, alongside fellow choreographer Loni Landon, is the co-founder of The PlaygroundNYC, a choreographic initiative that was voted 25 to Watch in 2013 by Dance Magazine.

Photo by Mike Esperanza @ mikeesperanza

Thanksgiving and Holiday Wines | November 6, 2022

Join us and SOLO VINO owner Chuck Kanski for Thanksgiving and Holiday Wines, a wine tasting event featuring a special selection. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase bottles with a 20% discount. This event supports TU Dance programs and performances during its 17th season.

November 6 | 4:00-5:30 pm

SOLOVINO | 517 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55102

Cost: $50/person


To learn more about SOLO VINO click here.

Photo by Canaan Mattson. Dancers Samantha Meryhew and Connor Simone in Sensible Existence choreographed by Marcus Jarrell Willis.

YoungArts Information Session | Oct. 15 and 19

Join us for an information session open to the general public to learn more about the YoungArts program and its application process, guided by dancer-choreographer and YoungArts alum Alanna Morris. This community event offers an accessible opportunity to explore post-secondary school/college-preparedness as an artist, along with general life and business skills. A Q&A will follow the presentation, providing time to make deeper connections for participants. 

Saturday, October 15, 4:30-6:00pm
Wednesday, October 19, 6:30-8:00pm
TU Dance Center | 2121 University Ave. West, Saint Paul, MN 55114
To register, please complete this form.

About YoungArts:

YoungArts is an organization supporting artists across 10 disciplines at all stages of development, beginning with the critical moment when they decide to pursue a life in the arts, and continuing throughout their careers. Through its national competition—open to applicants ages 15-18 OR in grades 10-12—award winners receive mentorship and financial awards; gain access to a lifetime of creative, professional development and funding opportunities; and become part of an uplifting, intergenerational community that helps artists connect, create and collaborate.

Notable YoungArts alumni include: Denyce Graves (Voice), Viola Davis (Theater), Louis Greenfield (Photography), Desmond Richardson (Dance), Terence Blanchard (Classical Music), Kehinde Wiley (Visual Arts), Jason Moran (Jazz), Amanda Gorman (Writing) and countless other professional artists.

Things to Know:

Free parking is available in front of The School at TU Dance Center. Please do not park in front of the Auto Shop (towards the rear of the parking lot) or in either of Subway’s parking lots as they may tow.

Masks are currently required at The School at TU Dance Center.

This event is sponsored by I A.M. Arts in collaboration with The School at TU Dance Center as part of the I A.M. Arts Mentorship/Coaching Program—an activity made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The School at TU Dance Center 2022 Spring Student Showcase | May 21 & 22

Artistic Director Toni Pierce-Sands invites you to The School at TU Dance Center 2022 Spring Student Showcase. Students from the Children & Teen and Pre-Professional Programs will share technique demonstrations in modern, ballet, hip hop and African dance as well as perform in works by TU Dance Center teaching artists and guest artists, Gregory Dolbashian (New York) and Marcus Jarrell Willis (Cardiff, Wales). With the first live performances for the school in two years, we welcome you back and ask you to please join us in celebrating these inspiring young dancers and all of their beautiful dedication and hard work!

Saturday May 21 | 1:00pm  & 6:00pm (SOLD OUT)
Sunday, May 22 | 1:00pm (SOLD OUT)

Barbara Barker Center for Dance, Studio 100
University of Minnesota
500 21st Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Tickets: $15 (General Admission, In-person only)

Proof of full vaccination (for ages 5+) or proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours will be required. A universal mask mandate is in place for all entering the facility.

Click here to read the Program Information

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and culture heritage fund.

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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