STEMarts Curriculum Tool

Taos Youth Ballet

Totality of Being is a modern dance performance piece based on exploration of theoretical astrophysics. The performance attempts to visualize stellar dynamic, galaxy formation and evolution, and scientific concepts such as Emergence Theory and Chaos Theory. The performers will use fabric to demonstrate the dramatic paradox qualities of the universe while allowing the performer to demonstrate the fragile qualities of being an individual human. Audience participation elements create a fully interactive performance piece. Inspired though collaboration with Astrophysicist, Nicole Marie Lloyd-Ronning and Choreographer Amber Vasquez.

About the artist

Taos Youth Ballet's mission is to provide the Taos Community with a comprehensive artistic education that inspires, educates and encourages artistic excellence for its dance lovers. They strive to create a studio that is overflowing with joy, commitment and friendship. 

Amber Vasquez has been teaching integrative arts in the public schools for 13 years. She created the "Learn and Dance" program which teaches Math and science concepts through dance, and currently works with Twirl bringing "wordplay" a early literacy program for preschoolers.

  • Astrophysics Documentary on Space, Time, and the Universe
    Chaotic Planets
    Simulation of the Formation of the Milky Way Galaxy
    Gravity 3D SpaceTime
    Nicole Lloyd Ronning Black Hole Demonstration 
  • Astrophysics Documentary on Space, Time, and the Universe

skills applied

  • Quantum Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Chaos theory


As a collaboration between a dancer and an astrophysicist we explored science concepts such as emergence theory, chaos theory and space-time to inform the choreography. You can watch the videos above to learn about these concepts before you come and see the dance performance in the Space Cloud. You can also click on STEAM activities in the STEAM Wiki to try to choregraph your own physics-inspired dance or try out some Astrophysics activities. Learn more about the science concepts that inspired Totality of Being.


STEMarts Design Tool

The Stemarts Design Tool provides a step-by-step tool to show you how to engage with the Pollinator Concentrator, a site specific interspecies installation at the Rio Fernando Park created by BioSTEAM Lab artist, Ana MacArthur. Explore the artist page to learn about the installation, to understand its purpose and how it works. Research the science and technology behind the art. Experiment with the hands-on STEAM activities to understand the artist process before coming to visit the installation at Rio Fernando Park. Take a field trip to experience the Pollinator Concentrator in person! And finally, when you go back to your classroom, create art inspired by the artist's installation and contribute to the related citizen science projects to be a part of Taos Land Trust's ongoing efforts to restore the watershed and pollinator communities at Rio Fernando Park. This tool will take you through each stage of the process. Just click on Explore to get started!

Explore interspecies site specific installations.

Andy Wagener creates innovative installations that raise awareness to social and environmental challenges. He does this through the use of unique materials and technologies, but also because he chooses topics that he connects with personally. For this activity you will design an installation concept to explore an environmental issue that you are passionate about. For ideas you can visit the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Discuss the issues with your team until you find an environmental challenge that you all agree on.

Research the science and technology behind the work.

Once you have identified the environmental challenge, it is time to research the facts about your topic. Check out the STEAM wiki below to get you started. Explore pros and cons, investigate any controversies, and have discussions with experts in the field until you have a strong grasp of the topic. It is also important to start researching materials and tools that can be used to communicate your ideas. Review the artist’s work on this page to learn about how he created the CLOUDNET installation to raise awareness about the dangers of ghost fishing. What can you learn from his process? The research will continue as you progress with the design but you should have enough information to start exploring how to communicate these ideas through art.

Experiment to see what’s possible.

Now that you have done the research on your topic and tools you can start brainstorming on ideas for an art installation and testing out some materials and techniques. Even if you are not going to build the installation in this phase you still need to play around with materials to see what is possible. Explore all the STEAM wikis below which include some fun technology tools that the artist used. Start sketching out concepts and jotting down notes with ideas for an installation. Don’t try to edit at this point. Start a sketchbook just for this project and write or draw anything that comes to mind. This is where you let your imagination run wild!

Visit the Rio Fernando Park.

The next step is to do a final drawing that communicates your design concept for an installation. This could be done by hand or on a computer. The design should show what it will look like and the materials you would use. It would consider possible sites and how people would interact with it. It can include diagrams, text, photos or anything you like. Most importantly it would show how the installation serves to raise awareness to the environmental issue that you chose. Since an installation is multidimensional you will have to find a unique and creative way to communicate your installation concept.

STEAM wiki

The STEAM-Wiki is a place to get started with your artist research. You will find links to articles, images, video, and tutorials that relate to Amber Vasquez and the Taos Youth Ballet's work.

You can search by clicking on the links below or you can click on the topic words in the word cloud for specific areas of interest. For example, search DANCE to get ideas on using dance to explore science concepts or ASTROPHYSICS to learn about the science that informed this work. If you are looking for STEM + Art activities type in STEAM Activities.  To view all options, use the keyword ALL.

Remember the resource is an open forum sharing links and ideas that others have found – always check your sources and give credit where credit is due. The open source movement generously shares its knowledge and relies on user feedback – so if there’s something really good or doesn’t work let others know.


Next Generation Science Standard

Core Idea ESS1: Earth’s Place in the Universe
ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars
ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System

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Taos Youth Ballet