George Balanchine Jewels Analysis

Superior Essays
George Balanchine is recognized worldwide for his virtuosic, neoclassical ballets. Balanchine has been claimed as the father of American ballet, due to his prominent contributions to the twentieth century ballet culture. From the almost hundred ballets he created throughout his career, I believe “Jewels”, which premiered in 1967 at the New York City Ballet, New York State Theatre, to be one of his most stunning works. Jewels is a full evening length performance, consisting of three acts. Each act, Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds, are separate works, which all carry common themes of elegance, luster and presentation. The linkage of the three acts of the ballet is related to the linked themes of ballet a entrée, which we first learn of in the Renaissance …show more content…
Emeralds is a joyful, poised piece, danced to music by Gabriel Fauré, whose composition stirred from Pelléas et Melisande, 1898, and Shylock, 1889. When Emeralds, first premiered, it featured a cast of Violette Verdy, Conrad Ludlow; Mimi Paul, Francisco Moncion; Sara Leland, Suki Schorer, John Prinz, accompanied by a corps of ten women. The costuming and set design are an emerald green colour, with white accents. The women’s dressed in long tool skirts, accessorized with elaborate head pieces, while the men wore tights and a fitted shirt. The women’s dress is the typical dress of the Romantic Era, called the Romantic tutu, first seen worn by Marie Taglioni in La Sylphide (Ballet in the Romantic Era 2010). Many decorative spacial patterns and formations were used in this piece by the corps, as much of the highlighted dancing was done by the soloists and duets. This reminded me of the Renaissance Era, how spatial arrangements were a prominent element of the ballets, due to the seating arrangement of the audiences. Although Jewels premiered on a proscenium stage, there was still much attention payed to the formations of the dancers from a bird’s eye view. The corps were onstage to create an environment for the soloists and duets who were performing several high calibre technical elements. In Emeralds, as well as Rubies, and Diamonds, the dancers, similar to the Romantic Era, are expressive through their bare face, not using …show more content…
3 in D major, Op. 29, 1875, by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. Suzanne Farrell and Jacques d'Amboise were the two principle dancers that premiered Diamonds, along with four demi-solo couples, twelve women and twelve men. The curtain opens to a beautiful blue and white set design, with the dancers dressed in white and silver costumes. The women are dressed in a classical ballet tutus, which had not yet been introduced throughout the Romantic, Baroque or Renaissance Eras. Alongside their dresses, the women wear an elegant headpiece, and the men wear tights and embroidered shirts. Diamonds incorporates themes of wealth and royalty, two driving sources of ballet performances in the Renaissance Era. There’s an overall enchanting mood, creating a majestic environment for the performers as well as the audience. Many claim the atmosphere is set up to create a “Winter Wonderland” feel (Macaulay 2016). Many of the gestures from man to woman are those of offering and respect, reminding me of a traditional courting ritual. This is a common theme of the Renaissance Era, where court dances served a political function in the display of one’s wealth. As the floor patterns of the work are of greater intricacy, asymmetry is often used. This differs from the floor patterns of the Baroque Era as majority of their formations were symmetrical (Kant 2017). The choreography of this section is more dainty and delicate, yet

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