BWW Review: FACETED PERFECTION IN JEWELS BALANCHINE'S GEM PERFORMED BY THE FAMOUS MARIINSKY BALLET at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Sometimes it's nice not to have to follow a dramatic storyline throughout a ballet, and just be able to enjoy the performances, the artistry, the costumes, the captivating choreography and the whole presentation. This, is such a ballet.
Before the performance began, there was a wonderful, informative and interesting lecture, or talk, given on the expansive and beautiful mezzanine of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion by Elizabeth Kaye. It's worth the fight through the rush-hour traffic to get there in time to listen to her expound on the history and trademarks of this impeccable and invaluable Ballet Company. It so enhances everything when you see the performance.
It is an offering from Glory Kaufman Presents: Dance at the Music Center at the Los Angeles' premiere venue for dance, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
An evening of Music by Gabriel Faure', Igor Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky . Elegant compositions brought to life. Artistic Director Valery Gergiev has woven together these magnificent dancers and paired them with Mr. Balanchine's work, and has come up with a resplendent presentation.
The Ballet "Jewels" concentrates on examining the beauty in the World. For George Balanchine, this was something important he wanted to portray and present with love and gratitude to beauty everywhere. He chose, for obvious reasons, Van Cleef & Arpels to work with to develop his creative ideas. He helped created the "Ballerina Brooches," styled to represent famous ballerinas ~ the set alone is worthy of adulation and awe.
Originally choreographed by Balanchine in 1967, "Jewels" is an homage to the Era he was a part of, in the most revered way. If you watch closely, a lot is revealed about the times this ballet took place in. It is imagined, based on a matching set of gems: necklace, earrings, and bracelet.
Each Act represents a specific jewel, and the dancers deliver in every way.
The scenery and costuming is just the right mixture of opulence, reverence, extraordinary and radiating. Brilliant job in Scenic Design, by Peter Harvey and costuming by Karinska, recreated by Holly Hynes.
Opening up the three-act suite was "Emeralds." A sereneness was felt when the curtain fully revealed such an exquisite picture, in their opening pose. The emerald colouring of the costumes was faceted with lighter and darker shades of green; the mesh tutus, a soft sea-foam green that gave a dreamy effect to the piece as a whole. The movements were exact, perfectly placed, with elongated lines and exactness in every hit on the accent, and fluidity in between. If it was meant to be on the cold or unfeeling side, meaning not much emotion put forth, it succeeded in that, and I can see where this section might have lent itself to that attitude, but I would have preferred to see more feeling from the dancers while performing.
For me, the highlight of the evening was in Act II; The Rubies Section. It is alive with fervor, celebration and fiery performances, to the core of intense feelings and back again. It's sassy, alarming, vivacious and filled with pizzazz and raw, organic emotions. This section was the most delightful to watch, as the dancers were allowed to emote and let out feelings of the joy in dancing, the joy of beautiful creations and the joy of being alive to witness this meeting of the minds, bodies, souls and spirits.
The "crowning" moment is Act III, in "Diamonds," when all the stops are pulled out. It is a cornucopia of sparkling, ravishing, enticing, full-out mastery of a vision and it's attached emotions. The music of Tchaikovsky is meant to be the accompaniment to this section of the ballet. It fuels the choreography, and showcases the brilliance of the style, the execution, the meaning and the interpretation. It is soft and reflective, yet emotionally charged. The pas de deux, pas de trois, solos and the entire company radiates to represent the many facets of beautiful things, visually, spiritually and physically.
An extraordinary evening.
Photos Courtesy of Natasha Razina