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Welcome to Fairfield Arts & Convention Center's Nutcracker Digital Companion! Here you will find insider information about Ballet Des Moines, learn more about our community cast of supporting characters, see production photos, and enjoy a detailed story synopsis.

Thank you so much for joining us today! It has been a joy watching this beautiful production unfold on our stage over the past several weeks of community rehearsals.

We hope to see you again during our record-breaking 2023-24 Season! Click the link below to stay up to date with all of the fabulous performances coming up in 2024.

In the meantime, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful production of The Nutcracker with us today. It is our mission to create transformational experiences that build community here in Southeast Iowa, and we want you to know that we value you and your presence here with us today.


Lindsay Bauer, Executive Director

Fairfield Arts & Convention Center

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Welcome to Ballet Des Moines' The Nutcracker!

Since joining Ballet Des Moines in 2021, I am continually impressed by our company's meteoric rise. This year, the company boasts 19 professional dancers, the largest roster in company history! I am thrilled to share with you our beautiful and delightful Nutcracker.

Our host of captivating characters offers a fresh take on the holiday classic, mixing modern day sensibilities with a strong sense of tradition. Tchaikovsky's beloved score perfectly sets the scene for a quintessential Christmas party, an epic battle, and mesmerizing snowfall followed by the magic, excitement, and beauty of Act 2, all seen through the eyes of a child.

Our sparkling production of The Nutcracker is a shining example of what can be accomplished when high level talent meets broad community support. This year, Ballet Des Moines company dancers are joined on stage by hundreds of young dancers from across central Iowa. From the tiniest bumblebee to the glittering Sugar Plum Fairy, hundreds of dancers from across the state will participate in this year's production, from Fairfield to Algona to Des Moines. As our dancers perform to a sold-out auditorium, they will experience the exhilaration that can only be felt by standing on stage under those bright lights supported with an adoring audience cheering them on. It is our privilege to offer this opportunity to so many young artists as they rehearse and perform alongside our professional ballet dancers, building confidence, inspiring dreams, and nurturing incredible talent from every corner of Iowa.

Ballet Des Moines' The Nutcracker is an exhilarating experience. Our dancers evoke a sense of joy and grace with the same strength as their intense and breathtaking performances in my recent world premiere of Jekyll & Hyde. I cannot wait to see them in the rest of our Season of Storytelling. From the classic spring performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream to a world premiere in Love Letters set to the music of British pop star Bright Light Bright Light, Ballet Des Moines is proud to offer a diverse range of repertoire that is the envy of our region. Enjoy the performance and I hope to see you join us in Des Moines for more!

Tom Mattingly 
Artistic Director 
Ballet Des Moines 

The Story of The Nutcracker

Act One

It's Christmas Eve and the Stahlbaums are hosting their annual holiday party for friends and family. The Stahlbaum children, Clara and Fritz, excitedly greet and dance with their friends as guests arrive. Suddenly, the festive atmosphere is interrupted by the arrival of a mysterious guest. As the cloaked figure stalks the room, the curious children become frightened and quickly hide away. But there was nothing to fear, it was Clara's beloved godfather Drosselmeyer in disguise.

Each year Herr Drosselmeyer showers the children with gifts and this year he brought something special: storybooks! Each book features an interesting new character, including a beautiful Betta Splendens fish with glistening scales, an energetic Dragonfly, and a field of magical dancing flowers.

Drosselmeyer has made a special book for Clara with a handsome Nutcracker on the cover. Drosselmeyer gathers the children to read the story aloud. They are immediately transfixed as the characters come alive in their imaginations, including a terrifying Mouse King. The story proves too frightening for several children, so Drosselmeyer tells the tale of a sparkling Dew Drop Fairy, and a powerful Doe instead.

When Drosselmeyer finishes reading, he gives Clara the Nutcracker storybook. She becomes engrossed in the story and proudly shows off her new present to the room. As Clara dances merrily with her friends, Fritz becomes jealous and tears out a page of her beloved storybook in spite. Distraught, Clara pleads to Drosselmeyer for help, and with one simple trick, the book is mended. Fritz is taken to bed and the guests soon depart, leaving Clara to read the magical story in peace. 

As she reads in bed, Clara's imagination soars. The world transforms around her and mice invaders, led by the villainous Mouse King, scurry everywhere. Luckily, the Nutcracker and his valiant infantry arrive to defend the territory. A battle ensues, and after a dramatic fight, the Mouse King is defeated and the Nutcracker marches away victorious.

As snow softly falls outside her window, Clara drifts off to sleep, transported to a beautiful dream.


Act Two

As the Sugar Plum Fairy dances in her head, Clara's dreams recall the characters from Drosselmeyer's enchanting storybooks.

First, a regal Doe leaps through the forest, eventually coming to a woodland pond. As they gaze down into the water, they are mesmerized by the breathtaking Betta Splendens swirling gracefully below the surface. A spritely Dragonfly flits about nearby in the tall grass at the water's edge. Suddenly, a swarm of Bumblebees pass by, leading to a grassy meadow. A sparkling Dew Drop Fairy then heralds a gentle rainfall. The earth seems to spring to life with an eruption of fluttering Butterflies that lead to a garden in full bloom.

As the woodland scene slowly fades away, the Sugar Plum Fairy comes back into view, this time dancing with the galant Nutcracker Prince from Clara's storybook. Slowly the characters fade away and Clara opens her tired eyes.

It was all a magical dream, one she would never forget. 

Who's Who

Wonder Makers

As the curtains close on this enchanting performance of The Nutcracker Ballet, our hearts brim with the magic that unfolded on stage.

Beyond the dazzling display of artistry, this production embodies a beautiful harmony between professionals and budding talents, with over 30 local student dancers sharing their dreams under the spotlight.

Your attendance not only kindled the holiday spirit but also fueled the transformative power of the arts in our community.

Today I am asking you: would you consider extending this enchantment beyond the stage by making a gift to the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center?

Your generosity echoes far beyond the theater walls, touching the lives of nearly 10,000 individuals, including 3,000 students from PreK-12 grades, who will experience the wonder of live arts this year due to the unwavering support of donors like you.

Your contribution isn't just a donation; it's an investment in creating communal bonds and fostering a vibrant, culturally rich Southeast Iowa.

Together, let's ensure that the gift of joy and beauty and human expression at its most pure continues to flourish, nurturing hearts and minds, and weaving the fabric of our community tighter with each artistic moment.

Join the many others who give to Fairfield Arts & Convention Center with the belief that together we can create the world we dream of.

Gratefully and with great hope,
Lindsay Bauer
Executive Director, Fairfield Arts & Convention Center

Click Here to Give Now

Production Photos

Photo Credit: Ryan Morrison & Ballet Des Moines

Photo Credit: Ryan Morrison & Ballet Des Moines

Photo Credit: Ryan Morrison & Ballet Des Moines

Photo Credit: Ryan Morrison & Ballet Des Moines

Photo Credit: Ryan Morrison & Ballet Des Moines

Photo Credit: Ryan Morrison & Ballet Des Moines

Photo Credit: Ryan Morrison & Ballet Des Moines

Photo Credit: Ryan Morrison & Ballet Des Moines

Photo Credit: Ryan Morrison & Ballet Des Moines

Spotlight On...Your Child!


Now announcing the dates of our annual Evelyn Gamrath's Summer Drama Camp, this year with Treasure Island and our friends at Missoula Children's Theatre! Mark your calendars for July 15 - 19, 2024 and keep watching for more information! Registration will open in early 2024. The camp is open to all students ages 5-14, no theatre experience necessary.







Thank you for joining us today!


Final Words From Ballet Des Moines


For nearly 60 years, Ballet Des Moines has brought the magic of The Nutcracker to the Des Moines community and to people all across Iowa. Over the decades, these performances have provided local youth with an opportunity to appear on stage alongside professional dancers from around the world, creating life-long memories and inspiring students to follow their dreams.

More recently, Ballet Des Moines began touring across Iowa and performing dedicated matinees for local students, offering thousands of underserved students the opportunity to attend, participate in, and benefit from arts programming of the highest caliber.

Ballet Des Moines' work on the stage and in the community is rooted in storytelling. We seek to tell stories that are powerful and personal to you, fostering feelings of acceptance, belonging, and pride. We hope that every member of our community sees something of themselves on the stage, whether sharing a sense of wonder, of accomplishment, or perhaps the courage to try something new.

Next month, BDM begins a new chapter in our own story. In January, the company will move to the heart of downtown DSM to anchor the Ballet Des Moines Campus for Arts and Education. The new campus will more than double the square footage for our growing company and include a full studio theater, a rehearsal studio, and a costume shop. But perhaps more importantly, it will be a shared community asset, hosting not just BDM programs, but those of our community arts and education partners. This campus is also for you, so we hope you will visit us often to engage with our world-class programming, including open rehearsals, workshops, panel discussions, and participatory arts projects. We are so grateful to the generous leaders who have helped us to make this ambitious vision a reality, and we cannot wait to welcome you into our new home next Spring.

Thank you for making our work possible - By being here, by believing in the power of the arts, and by sharing your experience with friends and loved ones. We are grateful for you, and we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons.

Blaire Massa 
Ballet Des Moines 

Don't miss a beat! Join our mailing list and stay up to date with all the outstanding performing arts opportunities available here at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.