Dancers Angelina Sansone & Geoffrey Kropp. Photographer Steve Wilson.
Dancers: Kelsey Ivana Hellebuyck. Amaya Rodriguez and Paul Zusi. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Music for Emeralds: Gabriel Fauré
Music for Rubies: Igor Stravinsky
Music for Diamonds: Peter I. Tchaikovsky
Original Costume Design: Karinska
Lighting Design: Trad A Burns
Emeralds staged by Jenifer Ringer
Rubies staged by Victoria Simon
Diamonds staged by Deborah Wingert
Conducted by Ramona Pansegrau
Music performed by Kansas City Symphony
Solo Pianist: Jordan Voth 

Balanchine distilled the brilliant facets of precious stones into a grand display: Emeralds moves at Fauré’s mesmerizing pace, while Rubies races like lightning through Stravinsky’s jazz-inflected capriccio. With its symphonic Tchaikovsky score, Diamonds venerates the regality of Balanchine’s classical heritage.

Jewels, a work in three parts choreographed by George Balanchine, had a forerunner in the first production of Balanchine’s Symphony in C at the Paris Opera in 1947. In it, each movement of the ballet, then called Le Palais de Cristal, was costumed in a different jewel color. After being inspired by a visit to famed jewelers Van Cleef and Arpels, Balanchine took up this concept again and selected emeralds, rubies, and diamonds for his parure, having also considered pearls and sapphires. But Jewels is really not so much about gems as about some facets of classical dancing, and while it has been considered the first three- act story-less ballet, the jewel motif, sustained by Karinska’s costumes and the decor, is actually a device to unify sections that would otherwise be disparate; each act is quite distinct in style and has music by a different composer: Fauré for Emeralds, Stravinsky for Rubies, Tchaikovsky for Diamonds.

Notes provided courtesy of and adapted from New York City Ballet Online Repertory index.

World Premiere: April 13, 1967, New York City Ballet, New York State Theatre

Kansas City Ballet premiere: Friday, May 10, 2024 Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City Missouri

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