Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Jewels. It was last on stage 17 December 2013—7 January 2014 as part of the Winter 2013/14 season.
Jewels uses three gem stones as starting points to explore an array of musical and dance styles that are intimately connected to Balanchine’s own life and career.
George Balanchine’s glittering ballet was inspired by the beauty of the gem stones he saw in the jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels. It was created in 1967 for the New York City Ballet and is the first abstract three-act ballet. Jewels was performed in full by The Royal Ballet for the first time in 2007. The production uses costume designs from the original version 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 the music of Tchaikovsky. 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 concert music with visionary choreography.
News and features
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.
31 October 2013
With The Rite of Spring returning, we look at some of Stravinsky's other iconic ballet scores.
10 October 2013
The Royal Ballet Principal answers your questions before her return to the stage in Romeo and Juliet.
24 November 2011
We pick a selection of the top operas and ballets from the other side of the Atlantic.
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, April 13, 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., (that is, it has no story, and consists of, and is to be seen as, only the dancers' movements). It has three related movements "Emeralds," "Rubies," and "Diamonds" (though 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.