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New York City Ballet: Jewels 2005
-Onstage with the Dancers

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New York City Ballet
George Balanchine's
(NYC Ballet Website)

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children's Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Andrea Quinn
Marketing, Managing Director, Rob Daniels
Assoc. Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns

New York State Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 9, 2005

Originally Published on

Conductor, Maurice Kaplow

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 Jenifer Ringer (Danskin Spokesperson), James Fayette, Rachel Rutherford, Stephen Hanna, Amanda Edge, Seth Orza, Carrie Lee Riggins, and the Company. Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette are the quintessential ballet partners, and Jewels is the quintessential ballet. With a stage setting of faux, enormous emerald necklaces and large diamonds hung from the rafters, tiaras and jewels bedecking the female dancers, and jewels decorating the classic male costumes, Emeralds, performed to the French Baroque romance of Fauré, is a masterpiece. Rachel Rutherford, a last minute substitute for Miranda Weese, needed as a replacement herself, in Rubies, was scintillating and rapturous. With Stephen Hanna, Ms. Rutherford performed effectively and elegantly, a delicate duo.

But, it was the seamless and seasoned Ms. Ringer and Mr. Fayette that commanded attention and adoration tonight, and their mutual physicality and passionate presence were on view. Amanda Edge, Seth Orza, and Carrie Lee Riggins performed lovely solos and trios, as they led the corps with confidence.

Rubies: Music by Igor Stravinsky (Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra), Piano Solo: Susan Walters, Performed by Miranda Weese, Damian Woetzel, Teresa Reichlen, and the Company. Tonight's Rubies found Miranda Weese substituting for the ailing Alexandra Ansanelli, and her efforts in this fast-paced and exotic work were commendable, but too slow and constrained. However, Rubies requires a certain body structure that can instantaneously wind and unwind in staccato fashion, with angular feet, limbs, back, and a good deal of attitude. Damian Woetzel, always the virtuoso, was magnificent and devilishly daring in this deep red and black Stravinsky event. Rubies is hot, and Mr. Woetzel, as well as Teresa Reichlen, were hot. Ms. Reichlen's legs zoomed straight to her head dozens of effortless times, a sensational feat.

The bravura male quartet of Adam Hendrickson and Daniel Ulbricht, along with Adam Severini and Darius Crenshaw, was a sight to behold, as Mr. Hendrickson and Mr. Ulbricht are commanding, electric, aerobic, and powerful, every minute they're onstage. This quartet was truly energetic. The Company, in hot red and black, served the motif and momentum well.

Diamonds: Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (from Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Performed by Wendy Whelan, Nilas Martins, and the Company, including Saskia Beskow (Danskin Spokesperson). If Rubies is blazing, Diamonds is soothing. Set to Tschaikovsky, Wendy Whelan and Nilas Martins were perfect partners for a classical and scintillating section. With a vision of pale blue, white, and crystal, with watercolor effects, Ms. Whelan and Mr. Martins, both charismatic and glamorous in style, used balance and theatricality to enhance the Diamonds portion of Jewels. There was some chemistry between the two, not required so much for this final third portion of the program, but mainly mutual respect and shared rapture for the dance and the music.

The Company supported this duo well, and I noticed the rapid growth and skill of Amar Ramasar, Sean Suozzi, and Saskia Beskow, among several others in the corps. Kudos to Maurice Kaplow for conducting such a challenging program of versatile and vivacious music.

Teresa Reichlen in NYCB's Jewels
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Emeralds from Jewels
Dancers: Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Diamonds from Jewels
Dancers: Maria Kowroski and Philip Neal
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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