Thursday, April 14, 2016

TU Dance Returns to Bigfork on the Edge Stage

The Minnesota-based TU Dance Company, led by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, will again grace the stage at the Edge Center in Bigfork with a public performance on Saturday, April 23 at 7:00 PM.  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 and work that draws together modern dance, classical ballet, African-based and urban vernacular movements.  The TU Dance repertory features original work by Uri Sands, as well asother renowned choreographers including Gioconda Barbuto, Dwight Rhoden, Ron Brown, Katrin Hall, Gregory Dolbashian and Camille Brown.

TU Dance provides opportunities for everyone to experience the connective power of dance. The public performance is at 7PM on Saturday, April 23. Prices for the public performance are $10 adults and $5 children. 

Founders Toni Pierce Sands and Uri Sands are veterans of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  They have won numerous awards and recognition including the Minnesota State Arts Board and McKnight fellowships, the Princess Grace Award, and the Joyce Award. TU Dance has credits including the Sage Cowles Best Performance Awards (2005, 2007 and 2010).  They consistently receive outstanding reviews, and engage new and diverse audiences.  They have performed in auditoriums from the 200-seat Southern Theater to the 1900-seat Ordway Center TU Dance is known for bringing a multi-cultural awareness of modern dance with style and grace to audiences of all ages.

Part of the public Bigfork performance includes three numbers:

Title: Veneers (24 minute, 7 dancers) Premiered in 2006
Choreography: Uri Sands
Music: Arvo Part, Kronos Quartet
Above Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

A 2009 review by Camille LeFevre says in part.  "Veneers" is my favorite dance work by a local choreographer. That it still has the rigor, intelligence, ferocity and nuance to thrill — even after five or so viewings — is a testament to its choreographer, Uri Sands…”


Title: High Heel Blues (5 minutes, 2 dancers) Premiered in 2005
Choreography: Uri Sands
Music: Tuck and Patti
Above Photo by V. Paul Virtucio

A 2008 review by Erin Caryle  of City pages says in part, “…Next, TU Dance pleased the crowd with High Heel Blues, a retro-feel piece danced by Uri Sands and Toni Pierce-Sands, the company's artistic directors. Pierce-Sands acted out the sung longings of a woman lusting after high-heeled shoes, though she knows that they are not good for her feet; Sands was the salesman who helped her along the path to buying them.”


Title: Vibrations, Sightglass San Francisco (28 minutes, 10 dancers)
Premiered in 2015 with production support from The O'Shaughnessy
Choreography: Uri Sands
Music:  Charles Mingus
Above Photo by Michael Slobodian ©

A review by Caroline Palmer in a special to the Star and Tribune says in part…““Vibrations, Sightglass San Francisco” is an ode to city living with sections titled ‘Morning Coffee,’ ‘Power Lunch and ‘Happy Hour.’ But choreographer Uri Sands adds a distinct 21st-century twist to this suite set to sparkling Charles Mingus jazz compositions. His dancers are constantly in motion, their heads bobbing and twitching, their bodies unsettled and yearning for the digital pulse as they search for rhythmic connections.

Of note is a trio for Darwin Black, Randall Riley and Alexis Staley, all buttoned up and ready to conquer the financial district. They stomp to the flamenco-inspired beats, agitated as bulls locked up in a pen. All three are stylish and cool yet itching to seal a deal. But Sands directs the talents of these exquisite dancers away from the obvious power play, directing them into soaring leaps and long-limbed looseness. They have a higher purpose.”