Uri Sands leads TU Dance in rehearsal. Photo by Graham Tolbert Photography, Courtesy TU Dance

TU Dance's Uri Sands Resigns Amidst Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Uri Sands has resigned as co-artistic director of TU Dance, according to a release issued by the company this week. A recent lawsuit alleges sexual misconduct claims against him, which he denies.

Toni Pierce-Sands, his wife and co-founder, will continue to lead the Twin Cities-based company as artistic director.


Both Sands and TU Dance deny the allegations made in a lawsuit filed in October by an unnamed former company member, including sexual misconduct and negligent supervision of Sands by the company. But according the release, Sands is resigning to "help TU Dance move forward in providing a safe and healthy environment for all."

Sara McGrane, the lawyer representing both Sands and TU Dance, acknowledged that Sands did have a sexual relationship with the former company member during the time in question, but maintains that the claims in the lawsuit are untrue, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

This is not Sands' first time facing misconduct allegations: According to the Star Tribune, an anonymous complaint filed in 2017 led to TU Dance adopting a sexual harassment policy, and a policy barring Sands from traveling alone with female dancers. Sands consequently participated in counseling and therapy.

It is unclear whether Sands, who is the company's main choreographer, will still create or set work on TU Dance. But with his wife still at the helm, it's possible that his involvement—whether formal or not—will continue.

Update 2/18: TU Dance has reached a legal settlement with the dancer alleging Sands assaulted her.

Update 1/3: Bon Iver has announced that all upcoming productions of Come Through—their hit collaboration with TU Dance, choreographed by Sands—have been canceled, and will not be rescheduled.

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"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

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