BWW Reviews: New York City Ballet's JEWELS
As I arrived at the Lincoln Center on Friday night, my phone alerted me of a flash flood warning in the area due to last all night. But, in true New York fashion, the gloomy weather didn't slow anyone down. The theater was packed and filled with anticipation to see the New York City Ballet perform Jewels, which is known as being the first story-less three-act ballet. And even though the audience was soaking wet, they were not disappointed. Jewels shone brightly and made the trip through the rain and lightning completely worthwhile for all in attendance.
Emeralds, the first in this ballet trilogy, is pure classical ballet. It proved that the ballet does not have to tell a story in order to be moving or beautiful. The dancing flowed, each step mattered, and the transitions were practically nonexistent as they segued so effortlessly.
Rubies changed things up a bit. The tulle and tutus featured in Emeralds were traded in for vibrant red leotards and fringed skirts. Rubies was jazzy and sassy, demonstrating that the jewel motif is the only true unifier for this diverse three-act ballet. The dancers focused more on flexibility and long extensions in this act. A real crowd favorite, it had the audience cheering loudly and gasping at the turns and jumps, especially a series of daredevil leaps performed by the excellent Joaquin de Luz.
Diamonds went back to tutus and slowed things down again, showing off a classical pas de deux with some stunning partnering. I could really focus on the technique of the dancers in this act, and was extremely satisfied by the firm landings from their turns, leaps, and jumps. There were no stumbles or fall-outs from pirouettes throughout this entire performance, which truly reflected the amount of time and conditioning that goes into being a New York City Ballet dancer.
The New York City Ballet proved that only the best can perform on this stage. It takes great talent to leave a solo dancer on a stage that large without them getting lost, especially when the costumes blended into the matching background (both of which literally caused the crowd to gasp as the curtain rose).Yet the ballerinas shone in the spotlight, strong and graceful. They had beautiful hands, relaxed shoulders, and light, quiet feet--all the little things that make a world of difference.
The lack of story did not deter the audience's focus; rather, it gave the dancers the opportunity to put their own voice and story into the music and dance. There were no characters on that stage, only dancers out there doing what they love to do the most: dance.
While Jewels will not be running for long at the Lincoln Center, the New York City Ballet still has many exciting events coming up, including Classic NYCB on May 29 through June 1, and A Midsummer Night's Dream on June 3 through 8th. Tickets are already on sale nycballet.com and on location at the box office.
Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik