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Ballerinas, beautifully out of context, bedeck O.C. airport walls

Check out photographs on display at John Wayne Airport that create a whole new context for ballerinas

Before your next flight at John Wayne Airport, check out the ballerinas.

The Santa Ana airport features an interesting photo exhibition that places pristine dancers amid the most unlikely backdrops. "Katie and the Dock Workers," for example, offers a totally different context for ballet, far from the expected stage set. 

"My main interest is to show the ballerinas in both familiar and unfamiliar locations," Rob Gage, who spent four years photographing the Ballerina Project, said in an email. "A barge in Newport Beach, a concrete wall in a parking structure and an avocado grove in Irvine are some of the more interesting situations."

Gage, who lives in Laguna Beach, has been an advertising photographer for more than four decades. He has traveled around the world for such big-name clients as Alfa Romeo and the Chicago Bears, but the ballerinas he focuses on are much closer to home.

The dancers are students at Festival Ballet in Fountain Valley, Gage says, and they perform at the Irvine Barclay Theatre during the year.

"I have spent many hours backstage shooting performances, looking for something magical to happen," he said.

There are 17 photographs at the Thomas F. Riley Terminal through July 14. Also, Gage's photos will be on display in July and August at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach.

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