The Australian Ballet performs George Balanchine’s ‘Jewels’ for the very first time
Australia’s gems of the stage are performing the legendary three-part ballet in Melbourne, Sydney and London courtesy of Maison Van Cleef & Arpels.
By Josh Bozin
“Dance is a continuation. You cannot predict the signs of its evolution.”
IN THE SPRING of ‘67, the great Russian-born American choreographer George Balanchine unveiled at the New York State Theatre what would become one of the most significant three-part ballet acts of all time: Jewels.
This dazzling masterpiece, which was inspired by sparkling jewellery in a Fifth Avenue shop window, represents three distinct moods over three separate acts, each reflective of a different precious stone; emeralds, rubies and diamonds. Jewels is also a showcase of Balanchine’s atmospheric musicality — the masterpiece and its three acts are heavily tied to the music of renowned composers. Emeralds is set to the haunting melodies of Gabriel Fauré; Rubies and its Jazz-Age inspired performance is set to Igor Stravinsky’s Capriccio; and Diamonds, being both grandiose and masterful in the final act, is accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s music.’
Balanchine, who is often heralded as “The Father of American Ballet” and one of most influential choreographers of the 20th century, created Jewels to be a reflective expression of his personal experiences in Paris with emeralds, New York with rubies and Russian with diamonds. What resulted is an unprecedented abstract reflection of the master choreographer’s legacy, embodied by this idea of a “plotless” ballet; rather than a performance encompassing a story, it focuses solely on a theme.
“Each jewel in this ballet has equal beauty and power. Emeralds, soft and mysterious. Rubies, sharp and stylised. Diamonds, brilliant and sparkling,” says The Australian Ballet artistic director, David Hallberg.
“It is a visual feast for the balletic eye and an enormous opportunity for the dancers to tackle one of Balanchine’s greatest masterpieces.”
IT is A visual FEAST for the BALLETIC eye
In celebrating over 60 years of enthralling audiences through the timeless art of dance, The Australian Ballet, led by David Hallberg, performs Balanchine’s Jewels for the very first time. The mesmerising spectacle that is both soft and sharp, flashy and majestic, is a lavish offering of the highest calibre. It dazzles and wows, and for those uninitiated with the art of ballet, the raw emotion is felt from the very moment of its opening art.
As a proud partner of The Australian Ballet, French high jewellery Maison Van Cleef & Arpels is helping celebrate Balanchine’s Jewels in remarkable style. With a long history tied to the glitz and glamour of such performances as Jewels, Van Cleef & Arpels continues on its shared passion for precious stones with ballet, a relationship that was initially forged between Claude Arpels and George Balanchine when they became acquainted in 1954.
With the support of Van Cleef & Arpels, The Australian Ballet performs Jewels to audiences at The Sydney Opera House from May 4 – 20; at the Melbourne Arts Centre from June 29 – July 8; and at London’s Royal Opera House from August 2 – August 6.
See some the celebratory images below of the after party for “Jewels” at the Sydney Opera House.