Perpich News

Perpich Dance Students Workshop with TU Dance

Perpich Dance students with members of TU Dance and their CUL·TI·VATE program

April 6, 2023

On Friday, April 6, 2023, the Perpich dancers had a workshop experience with TU Dance, a leading voice for contemporary dance. The professional company is acclaimed for its diverse and versatile artists, performing work that draws together modern dance, classical ballet, African-based and urban vernacular movements. Members of TU Dance and their CUL·TI·VATE program were in attendance, including two Perpich Arts High School alumni: Sa’Nah Britt (Dance 2020) and Gabrielle Abram (Dance 2015).

The last time that Sa’Nah Britt, a member CUL·TI·VATE, was in the Perpich Dance studio was that fateful day in March, 2020, where we all thought we would be back together as soon as COVID passed. She was hit with a huge feeling of nostalgia upon returning. “I feel like I’m back to school,” said Britt. “When I told my friends, ‘okay, I’ll see you tomorrow’ and now being here I’m thinking, ‘where are my friends?’ This feels like a home that I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to, but now being back is a very big welcome feeling.” It has been over three years since Sa’Nah was last at Perpich. “But it feels like I never left.”

During the workshop, TU dancers led a warm up and shared an excerpt, choreographed by Stephanie Batten Bland, from their upcoming show TU Dance The 3-Women Project. The TU dancers paired up with Perpich students to teach them the phrases and help them create their own phrasing. The Perpich students performed what they learned, followed by a group discussion.

Left to right: Laurel Keen, Artistic Associate at TU Dance; Sa’Nah Britt (Dance 2020); Gabrielle Abram (Dance 2015); Mary Harding, Perpich Dance Instructor; Toni Pierce-Sands, Founder and Artistic Director at TU Dance

TU Dance The 3-Women Project is the spring show featuring choreographic works from a group of three internationally renowned black female artists: Stephanie Batten Bland, Alanna Morris, and Yusha-Marie Sorzano. The project incorporates educational opportunities, like the one that Perpich students experienced, and will culminate in live, in-person performances in May, 2023 at The O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul, Minnesota.

CUL·TI·VATE is designed as a bridge for dancers with advanced training between their educational perspective and envisioning themselves in the professional field. Through classes, workshops, choreographic processes, mentorship, community engagement, teaching, performance and more, dancers will connect and share experiences as a collective as well as expressing and gaining momentum towards their individual interests and goals beyond their time in the program.