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New York City Ballet: Jewels: Fall 2016
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New York City Ballet: Jewels: Fall 2016

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)


Founders: George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Founding Choreographers: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Ballet Master in Chief: Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress: Rosemary Dunleavy
Children’s Ballet Master: Dena Abergel
Orchestra, Music Director: Andrew Litton
Resident Choreographer: Justin Peck
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects: Robert Daniels
Associate Dir. Communications: Katharina Plumb
Communications Associate: Kina Poon
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 28, 2016

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Andrew Litton

Jewels (1967): Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by Peter Harvey, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley. Balanchine was inspired by the jewelry of Claude Arpels and decided upon pieces of music that expressed the essence of each of these jewels. The NYC Ballet costume designer, Karinska, used artificial stones that exemplified each of these three jewels. Like the difference in jewels, the mood and music differ, as well. Emeralds signifies the romanticism of France. Rubies has jazzy elements that evolved from Balanchine's collaboration with Stravinsky. Diamonds is illustrative of Imperial Russia and its grandeur. Some of the 1967 Premiere featured performers were Suki Schorer, Patricia McBride, Edward Villella, Suzanne Farrell, and Jacques D'Amboise. (NYCB Notes).

Emeralds: Music by Gabriel Fauré (from Pélléas et Mélisande and Shylock), Performed by Tiler Peck, Amar Ramasar, Rebecca Krohn, Ask la Cour, Erica Pereira, Antonio Carmena, Indiana Woodward, and a female Corps ensemble. Balanchine’s 1967 Jewels, inspired by necklaces, rings, and bracelets of emeralds, rubies, and diamonds, is a ballet one could watch over and over, with its breathtaking, expansive faux jeweled décor. Emeralds, the work’s initial ballet, is set to Gabriel Fauré’s music, noted above. This is a velvety, richly hued, sumptuous ballet, with Karinska’s gorgeous green bejeweled gowns and tiaras. Tiler Peck and Rebecca Krohn walk slowly and separately to center stage, when it’s time to meet their partners, Amar Ramasar and Ask la Cour, respectively. That walk reminded me of the ballroom dance walk, when a man asks a woman across the room to dance. It’s a sophisticated and repeated element of both Emeralds and Diamonds.

In this ballet, the way the women’s arms change shape and their torsos bend backward is scintillating and fused into the music. Mr. la Cour is strong, attentive, and always gallant, and Ms. Krohn has a demure, restrained manner in her eloquent dance style.. Ms. Peck, in contrast, usually a high energy dancer with outsized confidence and risk-taking in leaps and jumps, tonight channeled her boldness into a strong gaze and astute en pointe balance. The capable, supportive ensemble, led by Erica Pereira, Antonio Carmena, and Indiana Woodward, created a lush, serene symmetry to the jewelry-shaped choreography.

Rubies: Music by Igor Stravinsky (Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra), Guest Piano solo: Stephen Gosling, Performed by Ashley Bouder, Andrew Veyette, Teresa Reichlen, and the Company. When the ever-stunning Rubies, surrounded by red and metal-colored streamers and giant, red jewels, was introduced, Guest Pianist, Stephen Gosling, flew right into his Stravinsky solos with ardor. Ashley Bouder, just back from maternity leave, and Andrew Veyette were the central duo that runs about with rolling arms and bicycle-styled steps. They flirt and cavort in visual speed, with angular wrists and ankles. They were sassy and engaging throughout. Teresa Reichlen, always winsome and glowing, gazes at the audience, magnetizing it with knowing pleasure. She creates scintillating imagery, thanks to her long, powerful limbs and her coy, confident manner. At one point, the supporting male dancers, in velvet and brocade, ruby-colored costumes, manipulate her leg at varying levels. In the Corps, Sara Adams and Troy Schumacher caught my eye.

Diamonds: Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (from Symphony No. 3 in D Major), Performed by Sara Mearns, Tyler Angle, and the Company. Sara Mearns is an incomparable dancer, one who exudes mystery, scintillating sensuality, and languorous appeal. Tyler Angle is a partner extraordinaire, and although they have danced many roles together, they brought moment to moment freshness and allure in both solos and pas de deux. Together Ms. Mearns and Mr. Angle seized the stage, and Tschaikovsky’s symphonic score came to life. Most memorable is a choreographic element in which Mr. Angle helps Ms. Mearns sweep her legs in circular fashion, pointe shoes on the stage, as her back is supported at a low, near stage level.

One concern was the extra propulsion of Mr. Litton’s baton, inspiring Ms. Mearns to exude extra emotionality, not seen before, as Diamonds is the most visually structured of the three ballets in Jewels. Yet, tonight’s program came to a very satisfying conclusion, with choreographic figures that transported the viewer. Truly I was ready for a trip to Van Cleef & Arpels, the shop that first inspired Balanchine’s Jewels. Kudos to George Balanchine.

Indiana Woodward in
Balanchine's "Emeralds" from Jewels
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at