Why dancers love performing Balanchine’s Jewels (The Royal Ballet)

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Dancers of The Royal Ballet and members of the creative team reveal why Balanchine’s Jewels is a work loved by performers. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/jewels Among other things, Balanchine loved jewellery and was inspired to create this famous piece after a visit to the New York jewellers, Van Cleef and Arpels. He noted, however, that the ballet, which references different periods of ballet history in each act, had little to do with gemstones except for the costumes which are covered in them. Instead, Jewel is a pure celebration of music and dance. ‘Dancers love dancing it, audiences still love watching it’, says Elyse Borne, one of the ballet mistresses working on The Royal Ballet production. Balanchine described Jewels as an appetizer, a main course, and a desert, with each act having a very different feel from the others. ‘Emeralds’ is has a ‘demure’ atmosphere, reminding us of the French Romantic period of ballet, with music from Gabriel Fauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande (1898) and Shylock (1889). ‘Rubies’ is ‘jazzy’, drawing extracts from Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra (1929) by Igor Stravinsky to create an energetic, Hollywood feel. And finally, ‘Diamonds’ takes Symphony No. 3 in D major (1875) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, to create the grandeur of Imperial Russia.