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artist statement

Tristan Koepke

I am a contemporary dance artist. Choreography, improvisation, dramaturgy, and performance are all integral to my creative research. My dance works, including short choreographies, dance film experiments, and large-scale theatrical performance works, are dynamic negotiations of creative instinct, desire, somatic historicity, intuition, and intervention.


I knit lacy patterns of ritual that unfold and rupture into chaotic, effervescent celebrations of catharsis and release. I am interested in cycles of contemplation, exertion, endurance, and destruction: sinewy threads of movement enacted and exacted until they fall apart. My dances contain an air of vivacious mystery, engaging spatial design, and subtle embodiments of context and story while exploring non-narrative constructions and theatrical arcs that embolden poetic sensibility and ephemeral movement architecture. My choreographic works range from short movement investigations for the camera to fully-produced dance works for the stage.


My current research cycle, Choreographing Queer Hauntologies, began in 2019 and includes such works as I AM IN A BASEMENT (2020), Beverly, Beverly, Beverly (2020), The Poisoned Solo (2021), and Finally, Fairies! (2022). My new work, Truly Madly Deeply (2023) deepens my fascination with vaporwave, gentle camp, and soft butch energy. Additionally, I collaborate with Minneapolis-based choreographer Benny Olk in our ongoing performance project, There’s Only One Bed (2023). This work explores John Cage’s beautifully tragic and devotional love letters to Merce Cunningham, and collides Cunningham’s chance procedures with contemporary gay phenomena, thirst trap fabulation, athletic training techniques, tenderness, and smut. I plan to continue this inquiry through a new quartet, There’s More Than One Bed, set to premier in 2024.

Tracing artistic lineage lived and inherited, I weave wandering strands of silver memory that dissolve into emergent movement tapestries. Ultimately, these poetic explorations culminate in new dance works that are viscerally compelling, athletic, complex, and spatially-driven, and encourage audiences to engage their own curiosity and ability to interpret meaning from movement, sound, and design.

--Tristan Koepke, 2022.

Artist Statement
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