TU Dance's Uri Sands Resigns Amidst Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

January 1, 2020

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.