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Jewels

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I'm happy to see that Jewels will be back in the NYCB repertory next year. It got me to thinking how each section is so different, how each has it's own "perfume". Emeralds seems so mysterious and fleeting, Rubies is cheeky and modern, and Diamonds is regal and pure. Each section seems to reflect the original ballerinas that danced it so well.

So my question is this, which section is your favorite and why? I love Emeralds the best. It's so elusive and poetic. It's such a romantic and delicate world Mr. Balanchine created. Faure's music is gentle and sweet but not cloying. The relationship between the men and women are so subtle and courtly. I just want to heave a big romantic sigh everytime I see it.

So please respond and tell your favorite section of Jewels. This is my first topic starter posting, so please be kind to the poor "virgin". Also I'm going thru NYCB news withdrawal with the season over and the new one so far away, that any talk of it is welcome!

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I agree with Estelle -- it's worth bringing up this subject again. The most surprising thing about the poll results last time was that Emeralds beat out Rubies as the most popular section, and Diamonds was a distant third. This is not the way Jewels audiences typically react in the theater. For me, this ballet, more so than almost any other Balanchine work, is indelibly associated with the ballerinas who created the roles -- Violette Verdy, Patricia McBride, and Suzanne Farrell. So I thought Edward Villella did exactly the right thing when he invited all three to stage their respective parts for his Miami City Ballet production a few years ago. Alas, it's clear that Peter Martins will never do the same.

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Farrell Fan, its sounds like you saw the original cast performing it. Can you or anyone else who saw the original cast tell me what that was like? Also what about Mimi Paul, the other female lead in Emeralds? With Violette Verdy, Mimi Paul (who's mother I believe was French) and Faure, was Balanchine evoking a feeling of France with Emeralds? Rubies seems very American, and Diamonds seems the height of Imperial Russia.

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My favourite part is Diamonds - I saw it live in 1998 at the New York State Theatre with Wendy Wheelan and shall never forget the experience.

Of course Diamonds is a homage to Imperial Russia - I remember I recognizing parts of ballets in it: the promenade in passe reminded me of Don Q pdd, the hand raised with the palm touching the back of the head reminded me of Raymonda, some tombes with cambre derreriere of Swan Lake, and some developpes a la seconde of the Nutcracker.

I wonder if you agree with me?

silvy

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Yes, definitely -- "Emeralds" is French, "Rubies" American, and "Diamonds" Russian. The music for Rubies is often referred to as "jazzy," but it's Stravinskian jazz, not the real thing, as far as I'm concerned. I love it anyway.

Mimi Paul and Francisco Moncion had the "walking" pas de deux in Emeralds and they were mesmerizing. Verdy's partner was Conrad Ludlow, one of the greatest of all NYCB partners. In 1976 Balanchine expanded Emeralds with an additional pas de deux for Verdy and Anthony Blum, and a pas de sept for all the principals. (Jewels had its premiere in 1967.) Coming at the height of the "dance boom," Jewels was a great hit. The New York State Theater was packed at every performance. Nevertheless, at most performances that I saw, the audience response to Emeralds was merely polite.

The original cast of Jewels was long-limbed-- Mimi Paul and and Patricia Neary, the "pin-up girl" in Rubies had glorious legs. The combination of McBride and Villella was a long-established partnership at NYCB and everybody loved them. All these years later, there's been nobody as adorable as McBride and nobody with the same kind of magnetism as Villella.

Diamonds featured another beloved NYCB pair, Farrell and d'Amboise. In Repertory in Review, Nancy Reynolds quotes an opinion from Partisan Review: "When Farrell is at her best, Diamonds is one of the largest, most intense, most uncluttered experiences in ballet." I'm my own kind of partisan, and all I can say is I never saw Farrell when she was not at her best.

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Thank you very much for your reply Farrell Fan, how I envy all of the beautiful dancing you've seen.

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It's hard to pick one act of "Jewels" as my favorite, but if I have to it is 'Emeralds'. Wouldn't it be wonderful to watch "Jewels" every night?

I first saw "Jewels" in 1975. Merrill Ashley danced Violette's role. John Clifford, Sarah Leland, with either Colleen Neary or Wilhelmina Frankfurt (as the tall girl) danced 'Rubies', and Kay Mazzo danced Diamonds with Peter Martins. Heather Watts was in the corps. :wink:

I have to say that I prefer the original scenery.

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I'm going to go for the obvious and choose "Rubies." It's cool. I admire "Emeralds," although I do see why audience enthusiasm for it tends to be muted. It can seem to be a little vague, in a where-is-all-this-heading kind of way. I wonder if it might be better on a smaller stage?

glebb, as an aside, what was Mazzo like in "Diamonds"?

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My favorite is most definitely "Diamonds."

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Mazzo was gorgeous. Dark hair and snow white skin (like Margot), perfect body and warm in a very quiet way.

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