Blake Nellis Cowles Center Teaching Artist

Blake Nellis

Cowles Center Teaching Artist: 2015-Present

First Year on the Cowles Center Roster: 2015
Arts in Education Programs: Workshops, First Moves, Dance Without Barriers, Creations Residency
Style(s): Contact Improvisation, Creative Movement
Teaching Artist Philosophy:Everyone has a body, everyone knows how to dance!  Creating through observation, chaos, improvisation and connection is how I work. An in regards to teaching youth, my philosophy is even simpler: KIDS ARE AWESOME. No two are the same. No two classes are the same. It’s an adventure, a performance, a collaboration, and a privilege. Everytime I teach someone, no matter their age, I’m trying to craft a space where they can teach themselves and ultimately succeed no matter where they are or what they’re trying to do.”


Blake Nellis is an artist, educator, and improviser who creates work with the body. His work is deeply rooted in human connection, physical touch, and shared emotion. He originally hails from Door County, Wisconsin, and graduated from Luther College with a degree in Theater/Dance.  He is a 2015 recipient of the MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant and 2013 recipient of the McKnight Foundation’s Metropolitan Regional Arts Council: Next Step Funds. He has taught and performed throughout the US, Mexico, Europe & Asia and is proud to call Minneapolis home! He has recently produced work at the Walker Art Center, Red Eye Theater, TEK Box, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater & Luther College. He is a freelance photographer, choreographer, and dancer.  His other professional experience includes performing with Mathew Janczewski's ARENA Dances, Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Jim Lieberthal’s Footholds Project, Jane Hawley, Rosy Simas & Taja Will. His work is inspired by his experience with athletics, the circus, singing, acting, playing piano, photography, and filmmaking. His favorite moments are those in which laughter reminds us that play is valuable. And he strongly believes that riding a bicycle, eating good food and being curious, compassionate and creative are all integral parts of being a good artist.