Join us for a ballet of emeralds, rubies, and diamonds at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg! Choreographed by George Balanchine in 1967, Jewels is considered to be the first great abstract work of classical ballet. The performance here includes Mariinksy’s star dancers Ulyana Lopatkina, Igor Zelensky and Andrian Fadeyev, together with Tugan Sokhiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra.
The jewelry shops of New York’s Fifth Avenue would have inspired Balanchine in this choreographic triptych. The different styles and techniques come together to create three universes, each representing one of three dance schools. For Emerald’s dark green, Balanchine chose the music of Gabriel Fauré, using selections from Pelléas et Mélisande and Shylock to pay tribute to French Romanticism. Ruby comes to life through Stravinsky’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra, evoking American dance traditions of Broadway music halls. Finally, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 calls to mind the diamond-like virtuosity and splendor of Russian classical ballet.
Remembered as the father of neoclassical ballet in the United States, George Balanchine was born in St. Petersburg in 1904. Although a knee injury brought his career as a dancer to a premature end, his work behind-the-scenes would make him one of the most influential and prolific choreographers of the 20th century. His explorations of body lines and asymmetrical movement ultimately led to the development of a new style, the “Balanchine technique.”
Photo: Irina Golub and Andrian Fadeyev © N. Razina