The backstory of the Florida West Ballet's spring performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is something of a fairy tale.
Last year, about 70 percent of the nonprofit dance school's county grant disappeared. So like the girl in the story who was sent into the woods, the ballet company had to find new ways to survive.
In the story, a huntsman comes to Snow White's aid. In this story, parent volunteers compiled the program for the big show. Costumes and props came at deep discount from the Russian Ballet Academy of Orlando, where one parent had connections. Unpaid high school thespians formed the stage crew.
When the clock strikes 2 p.m. today at the Palladium Theatre, 253 Fifth Ave. N, the show is not expected to suffer for its thrift.
"It's just a very fun, whimsical performance," said Tammi Marvel, who sits on the board of directors of the ballet.
It has some star power. Playing the huntsman is Sergiy Mikhaylov, principal dancer from the Sarasota Ballet and the National Ballet of Ukraine. Playing Snow White is Ella Titus of Oak Grove Middle School.
The show is one of Florida West Ballet's two annual performances. In its 29th year, the company is known for having nourished many careers. It's a scholarship program for young dancers interested in pursuing an education in classical ballet. All performers are between the ages of 8 and 18 — nearly all are on scholarship.
The dwarfs in this performance are young children, and Marvel said that they have personalities to suit.
"The dwarfs we have are made for the part," Marvel said. "The girl that plays Dopey, she gets to be quite a little ham on stage. The kid who plays Sneezy has allergies. The one that plays Bashful is actually very shy."
After the show, Snow White and the 30 other characters will hang around to sign autographs for other young people.
Last year about 300 came to the spring performance. This year, Marvel expects 500. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $7 for seniors and children. To purchase tickets, call the Palladium box office at (727) 822-3590 or visit floridawestballet.com.