Ballet Des Moines will bring its full company of professional dancers to six locations this summer — including Muscatine on July 31, sharing world-class arts and education programming directly with Iowans across the state.

Gravity on Tour includes excerpts from Ballet Des Moines’ groundbreaking “Gravity” season along with a host of interactive STEM experiences, from Iowa State University’s FLEx Virtual Reality Lab and the Science Center of Iowa’s mobile planetarium to sending postcards to space and back.

An image from Ballet Des Moines “Gravity and Light” program, coming to the Muscatine riverfront on July 31.

These free performances build on the April 2022 world premiere of the interdisciplinary ballet Of Gravity and Light, exemplifying how music and movement can make abstract concepts more human and accessible to audiences of all ages, according to a Monday company release.

Ballet Des Moines CEO Blaire Massa has been working with community leaders statewide to determine tour locations, ensuring a strong sense of collaboration with tailored opportunities specific to the interests and values of each community.

“We’ve worked diligently for the past several months to ensure we’re delivering on our community engagement, outreach, and education initiatives — to expand access to the arts, while wielding creativity and expression as a tool to expand learning, build confidence, and forge community connections,” Massa said in the release. “From educational workshops and in-person ballet classes to meet-and-greets with the artists, pop-up planetariums, and young professional cocktail parties, there’s no shortage of opportunities to collaborate and inspire curiosity, confidence, and creativity across our state.”

STEM partners throughout the 2021-22 season have included the NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) and Iowa State University.

“Working with Ballet Des Moines this year has allowed us to introduce students to activities that help support our objectives at ISGC, to help inspire, educate, and employ the next generation of explorers,” Consortium director Dr. Sara Nelson said in the release. “It’s been wonderful to watch as students learn more about the connections between science and art and how dance can be used to express those understandings.”

People at an event on the Muscatine riverfront.

The current tour schedule includes six locations across the state, ending with a tour-finale celebration in Des Moines.

  • Wednesday, July 27: RiverLoop Amphitheatre, Waterloo Center for the Arts, Waterloo
  • Thursday, July 28: Thursday on Main – Clear Lake Bandshell, Clear Lake
  • Friday, July 29: Wilcox Performing Arts Center, Algona
  • Sunday, July 31: Muscatine Riverfront, Muscatine
  • Tuesday, August 2: Johnson Auditorium, Chariton
  • Wednesday, August 3: Lauridsen Amphitheater at Water Works Park, Des Moines

Each performance will include excerpts from BDM’s “Gravity” season, highlighting a diverse range of programming including this spring’s world premiere Of Gravity and Light, a pas de deux from Swan Lake, and Flight, a joy-filled contemporary ballet by Ballet Des Moines Artistic Director Tom Mattingly. In between the evenings performances, NASA Solar System Ambassadors will guide the audience through scientific discussions.

Gravity on Tour was made possible by Principal Foundation and the Iowa Arts Council. Additional details about the tour can be found HERE.