It was the window display of a legendary jeweler on New York's Fifth Avenue that inspired George Balanchine's 1967 ballet Jewels. The opulently decorated arrangements of the jewels, emeralds, rubies and diamonds, gave the three parts of his choreography their names, »Emeralds«, »Rubies« and »Diamonds«. Each of the three gems evoked associations, which he translated into a brilliant dance composition that has found its way into the repertoire worldwide.

Emeralds is based on music by Gabriel Fauré, whose composition reminded Balanchine of an ethereal French dance style. Energetically, vital and athletically he interprets Rubies to a composition by Igor Stravinsky, while in Diamonds he unfolds the imperial brilliance of the Russian ballet tradition, from which he himself originated.

George Balanchine, with his purist dance style, has led ballet into the modern age and with his taste has become a style icon of neoclassical ballet. In his choreographies he plays with the virtuosity and skills of the dancers, the flair of the ballerina, the structure and mood of the music. Understatement and elegance are the trademarks of his choreographic handwriting.


Music: Gabriel Fauré (from Pelléas et Melisande, 1898, and Shylock, 1889)


Music: Igor Stravinsky (Capriccio for piano and orchestra, 1929)


Music: Peter I. Tchaikovsky (Symphony No. 3 in D major op. 29, 1875, without the first movement)