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TU Dance to present Uri Sands’ first evening-length work

TU Dance is capable of such grace and graciousness, intelligence and artistry, technical prowess and aesthetic sensitivity that watching the company’s concert in February was a disappointment. Where was the choreographic vision? The vitality and verve?  The breathtaking dancing? When TU Dance takes the stage this weekend, for a two-week run of the world premiere “Sense(ability),” will all that critics and fans have become accustomed to be restored?

Since Uri Sands and Toni Pierce-Sands (both veterans of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York) started the company about five years ago, the Twin Cities dance scene hasn’t been the same. With programs that juxtaposed solos and duets of compassionate resonance with blockbuster shake-your-booty blowouts, and mixed with rigorously executed meditations on humanity, it seemed TU Dance could do no wrong. Shows sold out. Critics were enthusiastic. Dance audiences were treated to work unlike any other made here through an inventive blend of ballet, African and modern dance styles that lifted the spirit and reinvigorated the dance scene.

Much, in other words, is riding on “Sense(ability),” Sands’ first full-evening work.  An exploration of how the human senses interpret the earth’s four elements, the work features an original score by Chris Thomson, local saxophonist and composer.  

In past seasons, TU Dance has presented excerpts from “Sense(ability).” Last summer, the quartet “Sense(ability) Sketch II” had a languid quality of calm, interspersed with quiet intensity. “Each sketch has been examined, reworked and buffed to a shine,” exclaims the press material. At the very least, let’s hope for vision, vitality and a few moments of exquisite dancing.

“Sense(ability),” May 6-16, various times. Southern Theater, Minneapolis. Tickets $29. 612-340-1725.

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