T H E C O M P A N Y
TU Dance, led by Alvin Ailey veterans Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, has quickly become a leading voice in the Minnesota dance scene. Founded in 2004, TU Dance has garnered audience and critical acclaim for its diverse repertory, versatile artists, and for performances that are engaging, dynamic and generous. Modern dance, classical ballet, African based and urban vernacular movements are combined in inventive and unpredictable ways to provide opportunities for audiences, whoever they are, to experience the connective power of dance.
Prior to forming TU Dance, Minnesota native Toni Pierce-Sands performed with Minnesota Dance Theatre, Tanz Forum in Germany, Company 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 Theatre, Shapiro & Smith Dance, VocalEssence, Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater, and Robin Stiehm’s Dancing People Company. Her command of the Horton Technique has led her to teaching posts throughout the United States and Europe. Toni teaches dance at the University of Minnesota, where she is also the Director of University Dance Theater. In 2004, she was awarded the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dance. TU Dance founders Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands were named “2005 Artists of the Year” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune; and recently opened the TU Dance Center, a professional school and training program.
Uri Sands’ choreography has received national recognition for his fusion of classical elegance with edgy contemporary action, for pulsating intensity with poetic lyricism. A native of Miami, Uri performed as a principal dancer with North Carolina Dance Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for five years, with Philadanco, Minnesota Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, and as a guest artist with Complexions under the direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson. His recent choreographic commissions include, among others, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, VocalEssence, Zenon Dance, Penumbra Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In addition to several film and television credits, Uri has taught dance extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He was awarded a McKnight Artist Fellowship in 2004 and 2011, a 2005 and 2010 Princess Grace Award in choreography and, most recently, a Joyce Foundation Award (2011). Uri was named “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, as well as “Best Choreographer of the Year” in 2006 and 2011 by City Pages. TU Dance founders Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands were named “2005 Artists of the Year” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune; and recently opened the TU Dance Center, a professional school and training program.