528 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis Minnesota 55403United States
Midwest Living Recommends
The 500-seat venue Cowles Center is welcoming even for people who aren't particularly interested in dance.
A vibrant addition to Minneapolis' Hennepin Avenue, the Cowles is home for the cities' once itinerant dance community. It literally glows on Sixth and Hennepin like a beacon of warmth and possibility, but it's not stuffy. The Cowles is welcoming even for those reluctant to attend a dance performance. No bad Nutcracker flashbacks here. The restaurant Crave has an outpost in the atrium for a quick stand-up dinner, and patrons can bring drinks into the theater. At 500 seats, the theater is humble, says Cowles executive director Frank Sonntag, but this is to the audiences' advantage. The intimate space allows patrons to get caught up in the dancers' emotions as they leap and soar; patrons can feel like they're a part of the performance, without 3-D glasses. Dance speaks all languages, and the Cowles aims to be fluent in most, welcoming a diversity of dance and nondance performers. The building took more than a decade to open; it's a unique amalgam of three structures, one of which is the old Shubert theater, now the Goodale Theater.