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SFB Jewels

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#1 Dale


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Posted 13 March 2002 - 06:51 AM

I hope those who saw Jewels done by the San Francisco Ballet will post smile.gif

#2 LMCtech


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Posted 13 March 2002 - 04:38 PM

I saw it last night. It looks beautiful.

Emeralds: Clean lines and elegance all around. Joanna Berman was particularly strong. And the corps was very clean. Cyril Pierre was not all he could have been, but was a very good and attentive partner.

Rubies: This ballet has been in the repertory for several years, so it was no surprise that it was good. Tina LeBlanc was not as angular as she could have been, but Gonzalo Garcia was great, excellent technique and dynamic stage presence. The tempo seemed a little slow.

Diamonds: This was surprisingly good. I expected it to be much sloppier, but they really pulled it together. Yuan Yuan Tan was perfect in the lead, sweet and vulnerable but with strong technique and command of the vocabulary. She was partnered by Roman Rykine who was elegant and masculine. The soloist couples were all strong. The corps held it together very well. This is a difficult piece to do, there is nowhere to hide. There was a point in the forth movement that was shaky, but they got through without a scratch.

#3 Alexandra


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Posted 14 March 2002 - 07:01 PM

Three takes on SFB's Jewels:

Octavia Roca in the Chronicle

Octavia Roca in the Chronicle


Ballet's 'Jewels' needs polish
Berman, Maffre and Garcia exquisite, but corps looks shaky

Rachel Howard in the Examiner:

Ballet that sparkles


We've come to see, during the last 50 years of his work's worldwide domination, what dancing Balanchine can give to a ballet company. Less often glimpsed is what a company's breakthrough performance can give back to Balanchine's legacy.

But the power of that exchange almost blinded us Tuesday night, when San Francisco Ballet gave its company premiere of George Balanchine's sparkling 1967 masterpiece "Jewels."

It is an act of utmost tribute, a landmark company achievement and a cathartic experience for anyone fortunate enough to catch one of its five remaining performances.

And from the Mercury News:

Balanchine's dazzling `Jewels' finally joins S.F. Ballet repertory


The 1967 work often is credited with being the first major evening-length ballet without a plot. Its three sections -- ``Emeralds,'' ``Rubies'' and ``Diamonds'' -- are danced to scores by Fauré, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, performed on Tuesday by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra conducted by Neal Stulberg. Karinska's superb costumes in shades of emerald green, ruby red and bright white, encrusted with large sparkling gems, created the visual theme that links the ballets.
If not for the distinct and memorable mood of each section and the fabulous dancing, it might be easy to lose patience with the ballet's emphasis on showiness and surface beauty. But ``Emeralds'' is beautifully languid and romantic, while ``Rubies'' (which often is performed separately; the San Francisco Ballet first danced it in 1987) stirs things up with its sass. ``Diamonds'' is grand in the tradition of ``Swan Lake.''

#4 Alexandra


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Posted 15 March 2002 - 09:03 PM

Another review, from the Sacramento Bee (dirac also posted this on links):

S.F. Ballet's 'Jewels' a rare, shining gem


Judging by the reaction of Tuesday's crowd at the Opera House, "Jewels" is eminently worth seeing complete. But seeing how much there is of it, it's understandable how even a company as big as San Francisco's might hesitate. It's not an overlong evening, but it takes a lot of good dancers. There is an ensemble of 24 onstage in the last ballet, "Diamonds," before four more come out to swell the ranks.

Beyond the sheer fun and jazzy pleasure of seeing "Rubies" again, the most interesting aspect of this full-length evening is seeing how Balanchine can make such a unified work out of three such differently styled ballets.

#5 Alexandra


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Posted 18 March 2002 - 07:44 PM

Allan Ulrich reviewed "Jewels" for Voice of Dance. Here's a link:


#6 linsusanr



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Posted 18 March 2002 - 08:21 PM

I posted about the Wednesday performance in the American Ballet Companies forum -- I was delighted. I was in the nosebleed seats, though, and last Friday I was in the orchestra. I got to see a lot more detail. The principals were breathtaking. I have to unfortunately agree that the corps sometimes looked shaky ... in Rubies, especially. They have a part that requires a low developpe to arabesque, and some of the corps looked like they were going to fall over (fortunately, nobody did). Muriel Maffre exits this part by doing the same thing by herself, looking controlled and intense. Her developpes were gorgeous, needless to say. smile.gif

#7 Paul Parish

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Posted 20 March 2002 - 11:20 PM

I wish you'd seen Emeralds the night Lorena Feijoo and Julie Diana danced the leads....... Julie's walking pas de deux was like sleep-walking, she could have walked out an open window she was so otherworldly.....

and Lorena had that quickUP slow down, suspended quality of Violette Verdy's variation to a remarkable degree; her shoulders didn't have that voluptuous roundness that Violette’s did, but the way the impulse traveled up the spine and lifted the crown backwards was out of this world, she was going in several directions at the same time, which may be a “French Romantic” feature (Faure's music is French, Violette is French, in fact her name Verdy means "green") but it looks a lot like modern-dance suspension to me, like in those Valentine Hugo drawings of Isadora....

(On that subject, I remember Janet Reed telling me that Balanchine was very modern – it was not about placement, it was about “keep moving””

THat variation has a unique dynamics to it (in music they'd write sforzando-piano, where the singer initiates with a lot of force and immediately drops down to very quiet -- it's not harsh, it's like ice cream melting on your tongue, at first it's VERY cold and then it softens.

The releves are like suddenly she's up, and then she stretches out hte develloppe til the last possible second, and the body is the last, the head and shoulders are going into cambre as the standing leg is starting to melt down, VERY CREAMY, oh it was SO BEAUTIFUL...

It's the same with the pique turns, the first one (in passe) is fast, the second in attitude is stretched out to the last possible second, and hte pique itself happens like an arrow, and Violette got her shoulders into the act, which made it even MORE stretched out. Lorena didn't do that, but the leg just went sailing by....

THe walking pas de deux -- Julie Diana's feet were so beautifully bevelled, like the way a Kirov dancer presents her foot, ankle forward, you know how they shape them like a baguette diamond? Her steps were as accurate as the escape-action of an old-fashioned clock.... Well, if you haven't seen Emeralds, it's set to a quiet, lush andante that goes at a walking pace, with a bass line that pulses like a clock ticking, and a couple enter and walk around the stage on pointe (well, he's on half toe) and occasionally she stops in a sudden arabesque, and like her arm will hit a position and then on each tick keep moving like the second hand of a watch, the next time her leg will jerk-jerk-jerk-jerk up, all the way to six o'clock penchee, and hten the walking will resume with no warning -- or else she'll failli into a deep lunge and hte walking resumes with no warning from there.... What made her performance so cool -- well, first of all, she was dancing with Damian SMith, who's a VERY sympathetic partner -- was hte way she never telegraphed what she was going to do next -- it unfolded inevitably, like fate.... (Rmember how your teacher said, just because it's hard doesn't mean you get more time to do it.... well, that lesson pays off, if you learn it, in dancing like this.)

I'd had a long frazzling day that Friday before I went, worked 8 hours at a restaurant, and I was afraid that Emeralds would be so quiet it would just put me to sleep -- but totally hte opposite -- I tuned in to it and calmed down, it was like a good dream, but I had total recall.

[ March 20, 2002, 11:26 PM: Message edited by: Paul Parish ]

#8 Alexandra


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Posted 20 March 2002 - 11:27 PM

Thank you, Susan, LMCTech, and Paul for these reviews.

I'm greedy, and I hope those who go back to see multiple casts will tell us about it. Also, it would be interesting too hear how the company settles into the ballet.

Thanks again.

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