Tristan Koepke (he/him/his) is a professional dancer, educator, choreographer, and Rolfer™ based in Minneapolis, MN. His performance credits are extensive, having performed with repertory-based Zenon Dance Company in Minneapolis from 2011-2019. He has frequently performed in the devised works of choreographer Chris Schlichting, for whom he has worked since 2009, and recently appeared in Vanessa Anspaugh’s Bessie-Nominated The End of Men; An Ode To Ocean, as well as its second iteration, The End of Men, Again. His past performance credits include Doug Varone and Dancers, luciana achugar, BANDportier, Morgan Thorson, elephantJANE dance, Patrick Scully, ARENA Dances, Time Track Productions, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and The Minnesota Opera.

Tristan’s choreographic works range from short movement investigations for the camera to fully-produced dance works for the stage. Recent commissions include Point Dance Ensemble (We Are Counting on You, 2020) and Portland Youth Dance (Highlighter, 2018). His recent work, Hana with Gabi by Tristan (2019), and the upcoming I AM IN A BASEMENT (2020), are performative inquiries into expanse, movement amplification, and the pleasures and terrors of partnership, distance, and catastrophe.

A founding member of Structural Integrators for Liberation Somatics, Tristan is passionate about cultivating inclusive spaces that promote holistic wellness and somatic practices. A Board-Certified Structural Integrator™, he has been a member of the International Association of Structural Integrators since 2016, and the National Dance Educators Association since 2018. He holds a certificate in Rolfing® Structural Integration from the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute®, where he now serves as Chair of the Committee for Diversity and Antiracism. In addition, Tristan holds a BA in Dance from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities as well as a Certificate in Yoga Instruction from CorePower Yoga, and has studied many somatic practices, such as Klein Technique™, Alexander Technique, and SpiralDynamik®.

He is currently the Associate Director of the Young Dancers Workshop at the Bates Dance Festival, where he has worked since 2010, and is pursuing an MFA in Dance at the University of Maryland, College Park. His current areas of research include somatic phenomenology in dance performance, historicizing bodies and somatic practices within multidisciplinary fields of inquiry, and situating liberation work within the fields of dance and somatic education.


artist statement

I make contemporary dances for practice and performance. My dances, including movement sketches, dance film experiments, and live performance works, are dynamic negotiations of creative instinct, desire, somatic historicity, intuition, and intervention.

There is friction between my pervasive poetic sensibility, intersectional identities, and an ephemeral architecture of movement. Between the performers’ lived somatic experience and virtuosity, and my radical irreverence for overt choreographic style and distinction. My dances contain an air of vivacious mystery, engaging spatial design and subtle embodiments of context and story while resisting traditional narrative constructions and theatrical arcs.

I knit lacy patterns of ritual that unfold and rupture into chaotic, effervescent celebrations of catharsis and release. I am interested in exertion, endurance, and destruction: sinewy threads of movement enacted and exacted until they fall apart. My aesthetic impressions are a collision of brutalist design, humorous meditations on camp and vaporwave aesthetic, intricate textile and fiber art traditions, and imagined conversations with queer artists such as David Hockney, Enrico D Wey, Francisco Hurtz, Divine, and Ocean Vuong. Tracing artistic lineage lived and inherited, I weave wandering strands of silver memory that dissolve into emergent movement tapestry.

-- Tristan Koepke, September 2020



Resume and/or full CV available upon request.