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Dancing Jewels

“Dancing is music making visible.”

G. Balanchine

“He is too into opera” – this is the explanation of the strangest, you would say, but inevitable break up ever. That was the verdict to quite a nice guy, who couldn’t make it through three acts of my favorite “Giselle”.

My relationship with the magically beautiful world called ballet started when I was a very little girl. My mom took me to the National Dance Theatre in Budapest to watch “Don Quixote”. I still remember the dance of Dulcinea and clumsy Sancho Panza… Every time I get this wonderful feeling of mystery and can’t stop myself from crying while watching “Nutcracker” on the New Year’s Eve. So, what, my perfect man is still out there, and I continue admire the beauty of the dance and in my today’s post I invite you to share my absolute delight by “Jewels” of George Balanchine.

I’ve always been into classical Petipa’s choreography. Purely academic and with white ballet tutus. But “Jewels” turned my world upside down.

It is an exquisite beauty, impressively layering the music of three disparate composers and marrying each section to its own precious stone for an opulent experience. It is a masterpiece in a league of its own: the world’s first-ever plotless full-length ballet.

Inspired by a visit to Van Cleef & Arpels, George Balanchine linked each section to a precious stone through music and movement. Emeralds floats at Fauré’s mesmerizing pace, evoking an underwater setting, while Rubies races like lightning through Stravinsky’s jazz-inflected piano capriccio. With its symphonic Tchaikovsky score, Diamonds venerates the order and regality of Imperial Russia — a magnificent climax to a grand display.

“Jewels” caught public’s imagination from the start. Every time the curtain went up you could hear a sigh of delight. The Bolshoi returned to Van Cleef and Arpels, Balanchine’s original inspiration, for the concepts of their simple, modern scenery. Bands of gemstones like narrow bracelets hang vertically in “Emeralds” and “Rubies,” while in “Diamonds” tiny stones form a dream-catcher web in the sky. Sparkling and simple, breathtaking, but not disturbing from the dance. There is no drama, no love story, but you can experience the whole gamut of emotions. Incredible sensuality and beauty.

And still Marilyn Monroe was right, diamonds are a girl’s best friend…

lavitrinedaline.EdgarDegasOn the picture paintings by Edgar Degas

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