Audiences at The O'Shaugnessy theater in St. Paul this weekend were treated to a full menu of visual poetry, as TU Dance filled the stage with its buoyant, beautiful choreography.
The performance began with the debut of Sense(ability) Sketch 1, a tryptych of varied moods entitled Earth, Touch, and Ether (The Space in Which Everything Exists). The performance was the first series of sketches for an evening-length work that explores the relationship between the senses and the elements, taken from Ayurvedic philosophy. "Ayurveda," writes artistic director Uri Sands, "is the belief that everything in the universe is made up of five great elements which manifest in the functioning of the five senses: earth/smell, water/taste, fire/sight, air/touch and ether/sound."
The first dance section was rhythmic and shifting, costumed in red, purple, gray and navy and a backdrop and lighting that changed from a midnight blue to an alarming burnished red.
Touch, danced by Berit Ahlgren and choreographer Uri Sands, was a smooth medly of lyrical lifts, the dancers never letting go of each other for long. At the end of Touch, the audience breathed a loud, collective murmur of pleasure when Algren grasped a white balloon and floated up with it toward the sky as the lights dimmed.
When the faintest stage light returned, Marciano Silva Dos Santos was on stage. He performed Ether before a backdrop of a star-filled night sky, his slow, careful choreography, infused with the joy of being alive.
Next, TU Dance pleased the crowd with High Heel Blues, a retro-feel piece danced by Uri Sands and Toni Pierce-Sands, the company's artistic directors. Pierce-Sands acted out the sung longings of a woman lusting after high-heeled shoes, though she knows that they are not good for her feet; Sands was the salesman who helped her along the path to buying them.
The performances were just for the past weekend, so if you missed it this time, you won't want to make that mistake again. But at least you can get a flavor of it from this video of TU Dance from the Pioneer Press. Check the TU Dance Web site for upcoming performances.