Free registration available Nutcracker Ballet + STEM performance for K-12 youth

AMES, Iowa – On Friday, December 9 at 12:30 p.m., youth can see a free Nutcracker Ballet mini-performance and independently participate in related STEM challenges. The event will be held in person at the Stephens Auditorium on the Iowa State University campus and will also be live streamed throughout Iowa. Registration for the event is required for both the in-person and online options; Register online with Stephens to reserve your spot.

Nutcracker Ballet + MINT cast from 2021.The performance celebrates the magic of STEAM – which means science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. This event lasts approximately 45 minutes without a break. The overall program is designed for primary school 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 the Costume Challenge. A circuit challenge and a choreography challenge are coming soon. A free download will be available for all STEAM challenges.

“This amazing event is a wonderful way to showcase the joy of art and all of the STEM subjects that can be found in theater,” said Sara Nelson, 4-H STEM program specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “We also wanted to highlight the many careers that combine STEM and art in innovative and creative ways. We are delighted to be collaborating 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 Mauricio Vera will join local Iowa dancers to perform in a Reader’s Theater style performance. Trombly and Vera will take on the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, respectively. This is the 41st year of The Nutcracker Ballet on the Iowa State University campus. This mini-performance and annual production features choreography by Robert Thomas and Miyoko Kato Thomas of the Iowa Youth Ballet.

Along with a collaboration of Stephens Auditorium and ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development, a variety of groups at Iowa State University were involved, including undergraduate dancers, faculty dancers from various colleges, and an undergraduate storyteller from the theater department. The ISU School of Education, the Iowa Space Grant Consortium, and the Science Center of Iowa are also key partners.

For more information about the Iowa 4-H Youth Development STEM program, please contact your ISU Extension and Outreach County Office or visit the STEM website at

Shareable photo: Nutcracker Ballet + STEM cast from 2021