Registration Open for Free Nutcracker Ballet + STEM Performance for K-12 Youth

November 9, 2021, 1:45 pm | Valyn Bodensteiner, Sara Nelson

Nutcracker Ballet + STEM youth performance.AMES, Iowa – On Friday, Dec. 10, at 12:30 p.m. youth can watch a free mini-performance of the Nutcracker Ballet and participate in related STEM challenges. The event will be held in person at Stephens Auditorium on the Iowa State University campus and also livestreamed across Iowa. Registration for the event is required; register online at

The performance celebrates the magic of STEAM – which means science, technology, engineering, arts and math. This event will be roughly 45 minutes in length with no intermission. It is designed for elementary aged youth in grades 2-5 but could easily be modified for older or younger youth. All activities work to support a variety of literacy and STEM standards. Related STEM challenges include the Mousetrap Challenge and Costume Challenge. Both can be accessed online.

"This event is a wonderful way to showcase the joy of STEAM and the impact that collaborations can have on learning,” said Sara Nelson, 4-H STEM program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “We wanted to highlight the many careers that combine STEM plus arts in innovative and creative ways. This performance features Iowa State students and staff from across campus, as well as community dancers. We are thrilled to be partnering with Stephens on this special youth performance."

The Nutcracker Ballet tells the story of a young girl, a heroic prince and the fantastic dream they share. Professional dancers Tanya Lynn Trombly and Fredrick Davis will join local Iowa dancers to perform in a Reader’s Theatre style performance. Trombly and Davis will perform the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, respectively. This is the 40th year of the Nutcracker Ballet on the Iowa State University campus. This mini performance and the annual production feature choreography by Robert Thomas and Miyoko Kato Thomas of the Iowa Youth Ballet.

Along with a collaboration by Stephens Auditorium and ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development, a variety of groups at Iowa State University have been involved, including undergraduate dancers, faculty dancers from various colleges and an undergraduate storyteller from the theatre department. The School of Education also will be taking part.  

For more information on Iowa 4-H Youth Development STEM programming, please contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office or visit the STEM webpage at

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