When to see it
These events are part of the Spring 2017 season.
Jewels uses three gem stones as starting points to explore an array of musical and dance styles, each intimately connected to Balanchine’s own life and career.
George Balanchine’s glittering ballet Jewels was inspired by the beauty of the gem stones he saw in the New York store of jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels. He went on to make history with this, the first abstract three-act ballet, first performed in 1967 by New York City Ballet. Jewels was performed in full by The Royal Ballet for the first time in 2007, using costume designs from the original NYCB production and new set designs by Jean-Marc Puissant.
Each of the three movements draws on a different stone for its inspiration and a different composer for its sound. The French Romantic music of Fauré provides the impetus for the lyricism of ‘Emeralds’. The fire of ‘Rubies’ comes from Stravinsky and the jazz-age energy of New York. Grandeur and elegance complete the ballet in ‘Diamonds’, with the splendour of Imperial Russia and Tchaikovsky’s opulent Third Symphony. Each section salutes a different era in classical ballet’s history as well as a distinct period in Balanchine’s own life. Through it all, Balanchine displays his genius for combining music with visionary choreography.
News and features
17 February 2017
Unicorns, medieval tapestries and glittering diamonds – Balanchine’s magnificent pas de deux draws on some surprising influences.
30 January 2017
Principal casting has been amended for two performances of George Balanchine's ballet.
26 April 2016
Newly announced programme includes six Royal Opera and six Royal Ballet productions screened live in cinemas across the world.
11 November 2014
The dancer-turned-designer is behind some of contemporary ballet's greatest works of recent years.
18 December 2013
What did you think of The Royal Ballet's production of Balanchine's sparkly triple bill?
25 November 2013
With George Balanchine's celebration of gems returning, a glimpse into the ROH Costume Department.
Jewels is a three-act ballet created for the New York City Ballet by co-founder and founding choreographer George Balanchine. It premièred on Thursday, 13 April 1967 at the New York State Theater, with sets designed by Peter Harvey and lighting by Ronald Bates. Jewels has been called the first full-length abstract ballet. It has three related movements Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds (usually separated by intermissions). It can also be seen as three separate ballets, linked by their jewel-colored costumes. Balanchine commented: "The ballet had nothing to do with jewels. The dancers are just dressed like jewels." Each of the three acts features the music of a different composer: Emeralds is set to the music of Gabriel Fauré, Rubies to the music of Igor Stravinsky and Diamonds to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.