Ballet Des Moines ‘Gravity on Tour’ brings art and science to life statewide; Company embarks on second summer tour season

[Image Courtesy Ballet Des Moines]

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

Gravity on Tour includes excerpts from Ballet Des Moines’ ground-breaking 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. 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.

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,” says Massa. “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.”

[Image Courtesy Ballet Des Moines]

STEM partners throughout the 21-22 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,” says director Dr. Sara Nelson. “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.”

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

[Image Courtesy Ballet 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 at

About Ballet Des Moines

Ballet Des Moines was launched as a professional ballet company in 2012, bringing world-class performing artists to the Des Moines community for classical and contemporary main stage productions. Ballet Des Moines offers training opportunities for pre-professional dancers and engages thousands of local youth each year through rich educational and outreach programs. The mission of Ballet Des Moines is to enrich lives through inspiring dance performances, inclusive education and outreach programs, and innovative community partnerships.

About the Iowa Space Grant Consortium

A part of NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program since 1990, the ISGC continually strives to improve and inspire Iowa’s future in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The ISGC supports aerospace research, education and outreach activities for all Iowans with NASA internships, fellowships, and scholarships, competitions for grants within higher education members (with NASA Mission Directorate alignment), as well as informal education grants with outreach affiliates. The ISGC is primarily funded under NASA Award No. 80NSSC20M0107.