Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Jewels. It was last on stage 1–21 April 2017 as part of the Spring 2016/17 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
12 April 2017
A selection of audience responses to The Royal Ballet's performance of 'Emeralds', 'Rubies' and 'Diamonds', relayed to cinemas across the world.
11 April 2017
Graceful Tchaikovsky, vivacious Stravinsky, angular minimalist music - or something else? We explore what makes the best music for ballet and beyond.
10 April 2017
The Royal Ballet's performance of this delightful three-act work will be broadcast from the Royal Opera House to cinemas around the world.
4 April 2017
Audience reactions and reviews of The Royal Ballet's performance of the sparkling three-act ballet.
23 March 2017
Our quick introduction to this gorgeous three-act abstract ballet, inspired not only by gem stones but by the music of Fauré, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.
20 March 2017
Principal casting has been amended for three performances of George Balanchine's ballet.
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.