The school-age dancers in the St. Joseph Ballet's "Your Neighbor as Yourself" wore costumes that reflected the annual spring concert's African theme.
Inspired by the book "Designs From an African Tribe," costume director Jennifer Langeberg incorporated into her sketches African symbolism with urban icons such as houses and cars. The dancers' parents made the costumes from Langeberg's patterns.
For the girls, unitards were cut from top to bottom and united with a different colored half. Insets and appliques in red, yellow and blue were used to create the symbols, and skirts or palazzos were added for the different dance pieces.
The boys wore baggy skater shorts with a colored band on one leg and short-sleeved T-shirts with appliques similar to the girls'.
Almost 200 children participated in the concert at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Most of the children live in Santa Ana's inner city, and their dance tuition is paid for by sponsors through the company's Adopt-a-Dancer program.
A reception preceding the performance on Friday gave founding director and choreographer Beth Burns a chance to applaud all the "big hearts in little bodies with big dreams," as she referred to the troupe's young dancers.