Joyce Award Winners

Uri Sands with Ordway Center for the Performing Arts



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.

Click here to watch highlights from the open rehearsals.

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.

Related Content

Grantee Spotlight

They Got NEXT — Chicago Sinfonietta Celebrates 35 Years

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, like so many organizations, was forced to reimagine itself, pivoting programming and performances to a fully virtual space.

Chicago Sinfonietta


Joyce Awards Information Session

Culture director Mia Khimm and grants manager Lynne Wiora discuss the Joyce Awards program and the application process. LOIs are due on September 12, 2022. New applicants should create accounts by September 7, 2022.


2022 Joyce Awards Announcement

Five innovative new projects by pioneering artists of color spanning the visual, performing, and multidisciplinary arts that engage diverse communities in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis-St. Paul will receive this year’s annual awards.


The “Full-Circle” Moment of Nick Cave and Forothermore

Recent work by Internationally acclaimed, Chicago-based artist and Joyce Awards winner Nick Cave.

Grantee Spotlight

Congo Square Play Promotes Healing, Catharsis in Chicago

Congo Square Theatre is an ensemble dedicated to producing transformative work rooted in the African Diaspora. For 20 years it has committed to telling stories by and for Black people.

Congo Square Theatre Company


Groundbreaking Lyric Opera Show Led by Two Joyce Award Winners

Profile on Joyce Award Winners Terence Blanchard & Camille A. Brown involvement in new Lyric Opera show

Grantee Spotlight

Building collective power through research

Black Researchers Collective was founded in 2019 with a mission to train and equip communities with the research tools necessary to be more civically engaged and policy informed.

Black Researchers Collective

Grantee Spotlight

The nation’s first Black arts museum

South Side Community Art Center is the nation’s first Black arts museum that develops and showcases some of the nation’s most influential Black artists.

South Side Community Art Center