Remix editor-in-chief experienced the Australian Ballet 'Jewels' with Van Cleef & Arpels
Remix editor-in-chief Amber recently attended the Australian Ballet at the Sydney Opera House with Van Cleef & Arpels. But this was no ordinary ballet. This was George Balanchine's 'Jewels' ballet, a 56 year old performance with a deep connection to the French High Jewellery Maison Van Cleef & Arpels history.
This iconic masterpiece encompasses the beauty of three gems: the mystery of the emerald, the flash of the ruby and the elegance of the diamond. Conceptualised by Balanchine as a 'plotless' ballet, the three acts are based not on a story but a theme, reflecting movement and atmosphere rather than a narrative.
While the ballet itself has no narrative, the backstory to its origins is full of tale.
'Jewels' was inspired by the sparkling jewellery in the Fifth Avenue Van Cleef & Arpels store window back in 1967 when original choreographer, George Balanchine, used to walk past the boutique and draw inspiration for his dances from the jewels.
Eventually Balanchine and Claude Arpels (nephew of Louis Arpels, a fervent ballet and opera lover) shared passion for precious stones united, and in a purposeful artistic bond, they collaborated the jewellery Maisons designs with Balanchine's dance, that produced Balanchine’s Jewels.
Remix Editor-in-chief Amber said, "The dancing in 'Jewels' was powerful enough and played into the motifs of Van cleef & Arpels creations... I can see why Balanchine felt it didn't need a plot."
As David Hallberg, Artist Director of the Australian Ballet company explained, "Each jewel in this ballet has equal beauty and power. Emeralds, soft and mysterious. Rubies, sharp and stylised. Diamonds, brilliant and sparkling. It is a visual feast for the balletic eye and an enormous opportunity for the dancers to tackle one of Balanchine’s greatest masterpieces."
The Australian Ballet is performing Jewels at The Sydney Opera House until 20th May, 2023 and Arts Centre Melbourne 29th June-8th July 2023, and 2nd August-6th August 2023 at the Royal Opera House in London.
The three acts are not only dedicated to the three main dance schools associated with a gem, but also the music of a composer: Emeralds - Gabriel Fauré, Rubies - Igor Stravinsky and Diamonds - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Over the decades, Jewels has been interpreted by a select number of international companies such as the Ballet de l’Opéra national de Paris, the Mariinsky Theatre Ballet in Saint Petersburg and the Miami City Ballet. In 2007, it was performed in full in London by the Royal Ballet, with the support of Van Cleef & Arpels.
The longstanding bond between Van Cleef & Arpels and the world of dance dates back to the 1920’s, when Louis Arpels, often took his nephew Claude to the Opéra Garnier, just a short walk from the Place Vendôme boutique. It was later in the 1940’s, the first ballerina clips were created featuring graceful dancers that have since become one of the Maison’s signatures. Vivacious lines, precious tutus and elegant compositions, the pieces showcase a wide palette of poetic and stunning gems.