Toni Pierce-Sands, Founder and Artistic Director

TU_Dance_18112015_002 photo©Michael Slobodian
Toni Pierce-Sands (Artistic Director). Prior to co-founding TU Dance, Minnesota native Toni Pierce-Sands performed with Minnesota Dance Theatre, Tanz Forum in Germany, Rick Odums in Paris, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where she was a featured soloist in such signature pieces as Revelations. Toni has also appeared in the Twin Cities as a guest performer with Ragamala Music and Dance Theater, Shapiro & Smith Dance, VocalEssence, Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater, and Robin Steihm’s Dancing People Company. Her command of the Horton Technique has led to teaching posts throughout the United States and Europe. Toni directs programming and teaches classes at TU Dance Center in Saint Paul and at the University of Minnesota, where she is also the Director of University Dance Theater. Toni was awarded a 2004 McKnight Artist Fellowship in Dance, named the Sage Awards’ “2011 Outstanding Dance Educator” and recognized with a 2013 Links Emerald Service Award for service in the arts. She was named as a 2015 USA Fellow, receiving the Knight Fellowship in Dance together with TU Dance co-founder Uri Sands.


TU Dance’s Mission

TU Dance draws from diverse dance expressions to connect communities with transformational possibilities that bring to life our shared humanity.


The TU Dance Board of Directors

Julia Yager, Chair

Rafina Larsen

Sara McGrane

Neeraj Mehta, Vice-Chair

Steven Nelson

Anne Parker

Toni Pierce-Sands, ex-officio (founding member)

Abdo Sayegh-Rodriguez, ex-officio

Andrew Troup, Secretary

Joseph Zachmann, Treasurer



Toni Pierce-Sands, Founder and Artistic Director

Abdo Sayegh Rodríguez, Executive Director | bio

Laurel Keen, Artistic Associate

Kari Mosel, Media Content Creator

Maxine Yamazaki, Marketing & Social Media Specialist

Daonna Lewis, Administrative Associate

Mia Johnson, Administrative Associate

MerSadies McCoy, Community Engagement Coordinator

Grantwriting and Development Consultant: Don Sommers
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Medical Consultant: Dr. Brad R. Moser, MD
Physical Therapists: Maryann Johnson, PT , O’Keefe Matz Chiropractic and Jonathan Reynold
IT Consultant: Bill Turner
Photographers: Ed Bock, Michael Slobodian, Laura Scher, Brandon Stengel, Graham Tolbert, V. Paul Virtucio and Ingrid Werthmann

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