George Balanchine

June 15 – 22, 2024

George Balanchine

June 15 – 22, 2024
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“I like the colour of gems, the beauty of stones.” So said George Balanchine of the inspiration for his 1967 ballet triptych Jewels, a plotless work evoking the radiance and architecture of precious stones. The ballet’s three acts – Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds – are each set to the music of a different composer and often appear as standalone pieces. This season, The National Ballet of Canada will present Jewels in its entirety, giving full expression to this celebrated work.

Jewels Trailer

Five Things to Know
  1. 1Balanchine created Jewels for New York City Ballet, inspired by the luxury jeweller, Van Cleef & Arpels. Balanchine’s choreography works with the music and Barbara Karinska’s famous costumes to bring the colour and character of each stone to life.
  2. 2Each part of Jewels is set to the music of a different composer: Emeralds to Gabriel Fauré, Rubies to Igor Stravinsky and Diamonds to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
  3. 3Stylistically, the three parts are unique. Emeralds recalls the 19th century dances of the French Romantics, Rubies is jazzy and crisp and Diamonds evokes the grandeur of the Imperial Ballet in Russia, where Balanchine trained.
  4. 4Images of jewelry emerge through Balanchine’s use of pattern, with the Corps de Ballet forming a necklace-like string in Emeralds, a semicircular tiara in Rubies and diamonds in Diamonds.
  5. 5The three parts of Jewels are often performed as standalone pieces, even though it was conceived as a full-length plotless ballet. The National Ballet of Canada last performed Jewels in its entirety in 2006.
Watch and Explore

Heather Ogden on Jewels

Breathtaking Jewels

Jewels View Gallery

Read Article: Sara Mearns on her Guest Appearance in Jewels

Read Article: A Closer Look at Jewels

The Choreographer

Born in St. Petersburg, George Balanchine, co-founder and director of New York City Ballet, is one of the most renowned and prolific choreographers of the 20th century. He is credited with revolutionizing the look of classical ballet for a new era in works of unprecedented musicality and aesthetic brilliance.

The Composers

19th-century French composer Gabriel Fauré was known for the elegance of his music and its impression of simplicity. His extensive oeuvre includes chamber music, songs, incidental music for plays and poems, operas and music for piano, with notable works including his Requiem and Pavane.

Russian composer Igor Stravinsky was a formative figure in 20th-century music. His experimental work encompasses a range of styles and includes the ballets The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring. Favoured by choreographer George Balanchine, his music features heavily in the repertoire of New York City Ballet, with works such as Agon and Apollo.

The late 19th-century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky created some of the most popular works in the classical repertoire, particularly his three full-length scores for ballet: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. His work includes full-length operas, multiple symphonies and concerti.


“As breathtaking as the jewels that inspired it.” – Toronto Star

“One of the greatest repertoire works... the dancing is sexy, sassy, brash, energetic and très moderne.” – The Globe and Mail

“It’s all terribly lovely to look at – and thanks to the combined skills of the company – hugely impressive in its artistry.” – Toronto Sun

Running Time

  • Emeralds 30m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Rubies 20m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Diamonds 30m
  • Total (approx) 2h


Casting will be announced on our eNewsletter, Ballet News, and on social media and will be posted here approximately two weeks prior to the opening. Please note, casting is always subject to change.


George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Staged by:
Diana White, Emeralds & Diamonds and Margaret Tracey and Kathleen Tracey, Rubies

Gabriel Fauré, from Pelleas et Mélisande and Shylock

Igor Stravinsky, Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra
By arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, INC., publisher and copyright owner.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 3 in D Major

Costume Design:

Lighting Design:
Robert Thomson

World Premiere: New York City Ballet, New York City, New York, April 13, 1967

The National Ballet of Canada Premiere: O’Keefe Centre (now Meridian Hall), Toronto, February 11, 2000

The performance of Jewels, a Balanchine® Ballet, is presented by arrangement with The George Balanchine Trust and has been produced in accordance with the Balanchine Style® and Balanchine Technique® Service standards established and provided by the Trust.

Jewels is a gift from The Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada.  

Running Time

  • Emeralds 30m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Rubies 20m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Diamonds 30m
  • Total (approx) 2h

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