Inspired by the paintings of African American artist Ernie Barnes, choreographer Uri Sands and the TU Dance company premiered “With Love” at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in May 2011. Sands received a 2010 Joyce Award to create a new work for the Ordway Center, located in St. Paul. Sands brought the movement of Barnes’ work—much of his imagery reflects urban life and dance—from the canvas to the stage through his choreography and R&B music of the 1960s.
In addition to commissioning a new work, the Joyce Award supported a series of open rehearsals, master classes and school residencies to share the TU Dance aesthetic with the community.
Uri Sands’ choreography has received national recognition for his fusion of classical with contemporary. A native of Miami, Sands performed as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey for five years and with the North Carolina Dance Theatre. His has choreographed new pieces in for VocalEssence, Penumbra Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Sands has several film and television credits and has taught dance extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He was awarded a 2004 McKnight Artist Fellowship and received the inaugural Princess Grace Award in choreography in 2005. In 2004, Sands and his wife Toni (also a former Ailey dancer) founded the St. Paul‐based dance company.