2 August 2023
JEWELS (Royal Opera House) Ballet Review
I don’t know how it happened, but I’ve never seen “Jewels” on stage in full. The closest I came was “Diamonds” in the Royal Ballet’s “Diamond Celebration” last year, so there was a lot of excitement on my part when the Australian Ballet company announced that they will perform “Jewels” at the Royal Opera House.
“Emeralds“: The stationary bourrée bit at the start of it was mindblowingly beautiful. Sharni Spencer and Callum Linnane were striking, but I couldn’t quite see those extended elongated lines that Balanchine was notorious for. Some of the steps when they were holding hands and leaning on one another were visibly wobbly. Valerie Tereshchenko and Mason Lovegrove were equally enjoyable, but equally wobbly somehow. The ensemble felt stronger than the two principle couples in this piece. All the same, the choreography was beautiful, and that’s what I was there for.
“Rubies“: Wow. My favourite piece of the night. Ako Kondo and and Brett Chynoweth lit up the stage, but I must say that Brett absolutely stole the show: the lines, the extensions, the grace of his movements. I would’ve happily watched this piece for hours. Isobelle Dashwood was an absolute treat. She is tall and lanky, so I thought she might be somewhat angular, but her movements were so fluid, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. A spectacular piece beginning to end.
“Diamonds“: A friend who knows about ballet far more than I do called my attention to Benedicte Bemet and Joseph Caley, who were leading this piece. They both had these wonderfully precise movements but supported arabesques were disappointing. I understand that these are very hard, but whenever Bemet and Caley had extended arms, hand in hand, there was a lot of shaking going on, and it looked like they were struggling to keep things steady and graceful. But even so, it was a lovely piece, even if not as good as Nuñez and Clarke.
Overall, I’m not sure this performance was as precise as smooth as one would’ve expected, but it was great to see it nonetheless.
Cheapskate enjoyment value: £5.
Bonus: There were some “frog leaps” in “Diamonds”, which, my friend told me, are called “pas de chat”. I found that hysterically funny, as no cat I know has ever leapt like that 🙂