• Julia Sumzina

The sparkling Jewels in February

At the beginning of February Mariinsky provided the spectators with a chance to see the most famous work by George Balanchine. The legendary Jewels, a three-act ballet, was created for the New York City Ballet in 1967. This piece is well-known around the world and has been called the first full-length abstract ballet. The three parts: Emeralds (to the music of Gabriel Fauré), Rubies (to the music of Igor Stravinsky) and Diamonds (to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) have different costumes, set colours and choreography style.



Emeralds, soft and graceful, they have a special charm and air of the artistic France in the first half of the XX century.

Light, with an amazing stature, Daria Ionova looked perfect in Emeralds being noble and vivid at the same time. This evening she was shining in solo variations and was absolutely magnificent in duet with Maxim Zyuzin.

Ksenia Fateeva and Alexander Romanchikov seemed ‘paler’ but dealt with their part with special ‘Emeralds’ intelligence. The feeling of freshness was held by Victor Caixeta with two ladies, confident and very beautiful in variations Vlada Borodulina and fragile Anastasia Gorbacheva, who had the debut that evening.



Bright and sensual Renata Shakirova and always energetic Kimin Kim demonstrated their Rubies deep and consonant to the Stravinsky’s score. The lightness of the jumps and the foot technique aroused genuine delight in the audience.

Young Maria Bulanova in comparison with other soloists in the Rubies lacks the clear lines necessary for the Balanchine’s ‘red queen’.



The leading duo in the Diamonds, Ekaterina Kondaurova and Timur Askerov, danced the most difficult part of this ballet in an aristocratically calm way. The brilliant mastery of classical technique and an amazing feeling of the music by Tchaikovsky make Kondaurova a real jewel onstage.

The Mariinsky’s corps de ballet is literally sparkling in the Diamonds, the beauty of lines and ideally synchronized movement fascinate and look exemplary.


The XX century was the period of liberal tendencies in art, even Balanchine with his immense love for the choreographic purity, developed the genre of abstract ballet, which demands the highest level of physical and technical shape but allows to show the various tints of emotional and artistic involvement. The Mariinsky’s Jewels is the ballet worth to watch again and again, delighting the various shades of the performance by different dancers, each with his and her own individuality.


Text: Julia Sumzina

Photos: Alexander Neff © Mariinsky Theatre

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