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TU Dance features thrilling ‘Veneers’ in show at Southern

“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.

“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. The piece opens TU Dance’s summer show at the Southern Theater (ending this Sunday). The company was founded by Sands and his spouse and artistic collaborator, Toni Pierce-Sands. For a feature on the creation of this masterwork, go here.

Sadly, however, Sands isn’t performing in this iteration. He and Pierce-Sands are two of the primary reasons to see a TU concert. And their presence on this program is limited to a sweet, playful “Improvisation” to live saxophone (uncredited in the program) that displays their lyrical physicality and affection for each other.

Luke Melsha and Katelyn Skelley perform the duet at the center of “Veneers,” originally danced with tremendous ambiguity, virtuosic articulation and emotional resonance by Sands and Eva Mohn (who currently performs — to critical acclaim — as a contributing artist with Johannes Wieland in New York). Melsha and Skelley are lovely dancers, but flatten the duet into a simple relationship without mystery.

The two premieres on the program show Sands’ more languid side. The quartet “Sense(ability) Sketch II” is the second in a series of works inspired by Ayurveda and has a sensibility of equal parts calm and quiet intensity. The costumes — by Pierce-Sands and Diyah Larasati — evoke a day at a spa surrounded by otherworldly royalty. In this work, as in “Veneers,” Berit Ahlgren dances with a singular integrity of presence.

The full-company premiere, “Miles Apart,” evokes the music of Miles Davis with a unique musicality. It’s not illustrative of rhythm, tempo, melody and instrumentation, as is — say — jazz choreographer Danny Buraczeski’s work. Instead, the choreography flows around, through and in between the phrasing and rhythm with hypnotic effect.

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TU Dance. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Sun; Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Avenue S., Minneapolis $29. 612-340-1725.