January 28, 2016
By TU Dance
TU Dance, the contemporary dance company and school founded by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, has completed a 2,000 square foot expansion of its facility at 2121 University Avenue near the Raymond Avenue station in Saint Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone. TU Dance Center, which first opened in 2011, is a welcoming hub for rehearsals, dance education, and training in Saint Paul. Now with added studio space upstairs, the organization is seeing the realization of a longstanding vision: a world-class performing company based in Saint Paul, with excellence in training for dance students and accessible also through scholarships to those with financial need. 150 students are now enrolled at TU Dance Center, whose location on the Green Line makes it ideal for after-school training.
The critically-acclaimed performing company has also been expanding. For the 12th annual performance season of TU Dance, new dancers joined the professional company from New York, Baltimore and New Orleans. The season, which opened in November with performances at The O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul, is continuing now with winter touring, including appearances last week at New York City's Joyce Theater. The company will return to the Cowles Center in Minneapolis for a new spring dance concert May 20-22, featuring new work by New York choreographer Kyle Abraham.
The company’s work continues to garner acclaim from audiences and critics for its versatile artists and diverse repertory which draws on modern dance, classical ballet, African-based, and urban vernacular movements. TU Dance has been honored with StarTribune’s Artists of the Year, the inaugural Princess Grace Award in Choreography, DANCE Magazine’s 25 to Watch, and Best Dance Company 2014 by Minnesota Monthly. Founders and Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands were recently named as USA Fellows by United States Artists, one of the leading honors for artists in the United States. They will be honored at an April 15th ceremony in Miami, where the company will also perform.
*Photos courtesy of Brandon Stengel (top), Jeffrey Thompson (middle), and Ingrid Werthmann (bottom).