Founded in 2004 by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands in Saint Paul, Minnesota, TU Dance is a leading voice for contemporary dance. The 10-member, professional company is acclaimed for its diverse and versatile artists, performing work that draws together modern dance, classical ballet, African-based and urban vernacular movements.
“Dance creates a shared experience—an undeniable space where a diverse community of audience and artists connect to a common power. We founded TU Dance to create access and opportunity—a platform for performers, students and audiences to engage the remarkable art form that shaped our lives.”
Toni Pierce-Sands & Uri Sands, Artistic Directors
The TU Dance repertory features original work by Uri Sands, as well as renowned choreographers including Dwight Rhoden, Ron K. Brown, Kyle Abraham, Gioconda Barbuto, Katrin Hall, Stefanie Batten Bland, Francesca Harper, Marcus Willis, Gregory Dolbashian and Camille A. Brown. Through celebrated performances of the professional company and accessible dance education at TU Dance Center, TU Dance provides opportunities for everyone to experience the connective power of dance.
Toni Pierce-Sands, Artistic Director and Master Teacher
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 recently named as a 2015 USA Fellow, receiving this year’s Knight Fellowship in Dance together with TU Dance co-founder Uri Sands.
Uri Sands, Artistic Director and Choreographer
He has received national recognition for choreography that is notable for the fusion of classical elegance with edgy contemporary action, for pulsating intensity with poetic lyricism. A native of Miami, Uri trained at New World School of the Arts, and performed as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for five years, Philadanco, Minnesota Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, as principal dancer with North Carolina Dance Theatre, and as guest artist with Complexions under the direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson. His choreographic commissions include, among others, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University of California, Dance St. Louis, VocalEssence, Zenon Dance, Penumbra Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Uri has received the Princess Grace Award in choreography, the Joyce Foundation Award and the McKnight Artist Fellowship in Choreography. He was named City Pages’ 2011 Choreographer of the Year, and–along with Toni-Pierce-Sands–the 2010 StarTribune Artist of the Year. Uri was recently named as a 2015 USA Fellow, receiving this year’s Knight Fellowship in Dance together with TU Dance co-founder Toni Pierce-Sands.
Taylor Collier, Dancer and assistent
Taylor is a native of Washington, D.C. where she trained at the Washington School of Ballet. She has also trained through the Dance Theater of Harlem Residency Program. Taylor received her BFA in Dance from Dominican University of California/Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program. She has attended summer programs at the Rock School of Dance, Houston Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Taylor joined the company in 2014.