MUSCATINE, Iowa–In 2021, faced with the challenge of bringing the arts to Iowans in the midst of the pandemic, Ballet Des Moines went on its first outdoor statewide tour, offering free performances in select cities, including Muscatine. The performances won over audiences everywhere, giving them a new way to experience dance in their home cities. After the conclusion of the GRAVITY season, which has proved their most successful to date, Ballet Des Moines will once again travel the state, stopping in Muscatine July 31 at 7 p.m. in Riverside Park to give residents a taste of the varied works they performed this past year.
In setting up their tour stops for this year, Ballet Des Moines organizers had no doubt that they would return to Muscatine. “We were fortunate to visit Muscatine with our tour last year, and it was top of our list of destinations when we decided to go on tour again this year,” revealed Ballet Des Moines CEO Blaire Massa: “Muscatine has one of the most enthusiastic and engaged communities for the arts in our region, and it is a joy to work with local leaders from the Art Center to the Community Foundation to the Parks and Rec department and the Merrill Hotel. We are thrilled to be coming back.”
During this year’s performance, audience members will see Ballet Des Moines perform a range of different works, from classics to contemporary pieces. They will include selections from the iconic “Swan Lake,” Tom Mattingly’s lively “Flight,” and, “Of Gravity and Light,” an interdisciplinary piece that Ballet Des Moines premiered this season.
Because “Of Gravity and Light” explores themes and topics relating to space, Ballet Des Moines, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, the NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Science Center of Iowa, and 4-H Youth Development will bring several hands on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (or STEAM) activities along for people to enjoy as well. These will include a mobile planetarium, an exploration activity that incorporates virtual and augmented reality elements, a straw rocket launcher, a chance to send a postcard to space, and a guest appearance by a NASA Ambassador.
With so much going on during this year’s visit from Ballet Des Moines, Massa encourages people of all ages to come and attend this unique performance experience. “Dance is a universal and inclusive experience – transcending language and cultural barriers to tell stories, share emotion, and build connection,” she mused. “We want every member of our audience to see something of themselves on stage, engaging in the wonder, power, and joy our professional dancers exude.”
Massa also considers it a prime opportunity for people who may not have many opportunities to see dance performed live to experience this artform for themselves. “We are Iowa’s ballet company, and we want to reach and represent our entire, beautiful state,” she stated with pride. “That’s why it’s so important to Ballet Des Moines to keep these community performances free and open to the public – come share an experience with us!”