Leotard-clad dancers stretched at gravity-defying angles, while gangly teenagers with seemingly endless legs towered en pointe.
A girl hunched over homework as a counterpart stitched elastic bands and ribbons onto her shoes, listening to the youngest among them, who tittered gleefully, cradled comfortably in the laps of older girls.
Ballet, in all its glory, was front and center at the Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine.
Last Friday, about 80 performers pieced together pliés, arabesques and ports de bras in a nearly two-hour run-through of the Maple Youth Ballet’s rendition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The dance company performs in front of audiences Saturday at Irvine’s Barclay Theatre.
At the heart of the production is director and choreographer Charles Maple, who conjures up an image of a master puppeteer, guiding teachers, dancers, set builders and costume designers.
Armed with extensive experience — he worked with George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins and other dance luminaries — Maple established the eponymous ballet school in Irvine nearly six years ago.