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TU Dance is scheduled to perform Thursday and Friday at Worthington's Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center. (Submitted Photo)

Dance company to visit this week

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WORTHINGTON -- A leading Twin Cities dance company will spend Thursday and Friday educating area students and entertaining local audiences at the Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center.

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TU Dance, founded in 2004 by the dynamic husband-and-wife artistic directing team of Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, first demonstrates its athletic blend of modern dance, classical ballet and African- and urban-based movements to the MAPAC stage on Thursday.

In two matinees for fourth- through sixth-grade classes, the TU Dance artists will present an interactive program featuring selected parts of their diverse repertoire. The dances will be complemented with narration to help guide the students in their understanding of the meaning in the movements.

"TU Dance is coming here in part due to a Minnesota State Arts Board touring grant," said Margaret Hurlbut Vosburgh, MAPAC manager. "For the student residency portion, Prairie Elementary fourth-graders are coming along with their pen pals from schools in the area involved with the Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC), among other students from the region.

"The accolades for this group of dancers are just amazing," Vosburgh continued. "The founders were named the 2005 artists of the year by the Star Tribune, and they also received the inaugural 2005 Princess Grace Award in Choreography."

A full main stage performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, and Vosburgh is confident people will like what they see.

"It's a great show for families, and people of all ages can enjoy it -- TU Dance offers a very accessible dance experience," she said. "This is a terrific opportunity for people to see a striking performance, at a much lower cost than what you'd pay to see them in the Twin Cities or other larger cities."

TU Dance combines elements of modern dance, classical ballet and other contemporary dance styles to create dance pieces that speak to onlookers on many levels.

"It will be humorous in a lot of ways," said Vosburgh. "They will do a selection called 'High-Heeled Blues,' which is a sassy, playful comedy acted out in dance about a woman's desire for shoes she knows are no good for her and the shoe salesman who leads her down the path to buying them."

Another dance piece, performed by the entire 12-member dance company, is titled "Amusement of the Gods" and reviews the rituals of worship from multiple points of view, according to Vosburgh.

In the show's second half, the TU Dancers will perform "January, Part 2," which they premiered in Minneapolis in 2012.

"It's about humans' perpetual state of transition, with our eyes both on yesterday and tomorrow," said Vosburgh.

But she is quick to remind people that they needn't be experts in interpreting or understanding dance to relish this professional dance performance.

"You don't have to know a lot about dance to enjoy it," said Vosburgh. "This should be a memorable show, and it's always eye-opening to see what artists can do with the human body.

"It will be sophisticated, but kinetically humorous and relatable."

Friends of the Auditorium made TU Dance's appearance in Worthington possible, along with show sponsors Mike Woll Investment Office, NCIC and the Minnesota Arts and Heritage Fund.

"TU Dance is bringing a lighting design production manager, a costumer and its full dance company, so this will be a professional production you won't want to miss," Vosburgh said.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. Friday performance of TU Dance at Worthington's Memorial Auditorium, 714 13th St., may be purchased at the box office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Friday, or at the door beginning one hour before show time. All seats are reserved. Questions? Call Memorial Auditorium at 376-9101.

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