Blake Nellis '07

Theatre/Dance and Music
Sturgeon Bay, WI

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
“Studio One, CFA. I also had keys to the Planetarium and spent hours listening to classical musical and philosophizing with my friends in the dark, under the artificial stars.”

What was the hardest class you took at Luther?
"Astronomy with Jeff Wilkerson"

What did you do immediately following graduation?
After I graduated in ’07 I took a road trip with my buddy, Josh.  We camped, climbed the Rocky Mountains, drove through long, flat states and thought about ‘What’s next’…”

The X Factor - that special something we see in certain artists that we aspire to be like. When you walk into the studio with Blake, you can feel the X Factor, the honesty and authenticity of his performance, and this has distinguished him as an artist. But how can young artists get over the self-judgement and criticism that hides that hides our uniqueness? Blake’s journey is an example of the how we can develop an awareness and readiness that changes thoughts of, “What can I be better at?” into a more childlike discovery that thinks, “What can I be?”

By immersing himself in the Movement Fundamentals curriculum of Luther’s Dance Program, he began using a language that promoted tracking, awareness, and a better sense of self through which he was able to release personal judgements. With this awareness developed, he was ready when the opportunity to teach in  Belgium at the Early Childhood Center at the International School of Brussels came along. While teaching there, he immersed himself in the culture of dance by both watching and participating in their world. Even without a formal teaching degree, Blake found his work and his passion for dance coming together.

When he moved back to Minneapolis, he dug into his professional dance career. While many of his peers were looking to be in other people’s work, he was continually making his own. He explains that this was always part of his readiness practice. He didn’t just practice technique, but asked himself, “What do I want people to see when they see me?” With a joyous personality and curious heart, he has learned to release his body and mind, and has been been teaching, performing, and creating ever since.

In fact, he is currently the Visiting Teaching Associate in Dance for the Visual and Performing Arts Department of Luther College. In spring 2015 he is bringing his original dance work titled Mortar to Jewel Theatre. For more information see our production schedule and our events calendar.