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.


Explore Artist Tool

The Explore Artist Tool provides a step-by-step process for getting to know the artist, to see examples of the artists work, research the science and technology that informed the work, experiment with some hands on activities and tools to better understand how the artist thinks and works, collaborate with your peers to exchange ideas on what you learned and what you liked, and finally to present something that you write or create that is inspired by your research and exploration. This tool will take you through each stage of the process with a focus on each artist's work.

Explore all artist pages

In the explore phase you go to the Explore Artists to click through each artist page and learn about them all. You can watch their videos, read their bios, and flip through their STEAM wiki for articles, science research and STEAM activities related to the artist's work. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. Look out for how any of these are used in the artists work. The goal is to learn a little about each artist and start to think about which one inspires you most or which one you would like to learn more. Your class could decide to all work together on one artist, or that everyone choose a different artist.

Research the STEAM

Once you have explored all the artists it is time to pick your favorite and go back to their page. Now you can dig deeper in the STEAM wiki to research the artist. Learn as much as you can about how the artist made the installation. Find out about the technology that was used. What is the science that informed it? How does the artist work impact communities? the environment? Why do you think this work is interesting or important? The goal here is to pick a STEAM activity. Again it could be a group project or individual project.

Time to experiment and create with hands-on activities

Now that you and your class have decided on the artist and STEAM activity it is time to start experimenting. if you are writing a report start your draft, if you are creating an art piece or installation start sketching or constructing prototypes or you may be trying out a new science experiment. This is your chance to do some hands on project to really understand the artist’s art process.

Collaborate with peers to share and get feedback

The next step is to collaborate with your peers to share your work, exchange ideas and get feedback. Perhaps you have been working on an experiment and you need some help. Maybe you are excited about something you learned or created and just would like to share with you peers. This is the time to discuss and listen to other people’s ideas and what they learned to get a different perspective. Check out the Feedback Tool for some suggestions on how to give and receive feedback constructively.

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

Other Artists

Espacio La Nube
Projecting Particles Collective
Victoria Vesna
Cory Metcalf
Reilly Donovan
Parker Jennings
Cristopher Cichocki
Taos Youth Ballet