so the other day i went to see the transmission of a ballet 'jewels' from the bolshoi theatre. the play was originally choreographed by george balanchine in 1967 for the new york city ballet and now the bolshoi got the permission from his foundation to re-stage it in moscow.

the ballet has three acts but it doesn't really matter since it's not story driven. each act symbolises one kind of jewel, emeralds, rubies and finally diamonds. the choreographer wanted to bring a forth jewel, sapphire but, in the end, it wasn't finished.

it is said that balanchine was inspired by the rich and wonderful jewellery stores down the fifth avenue in new york. each jewel symbolises different ballet schools. emeralds are like the delicate and elegant french ballet, rubies are classic but with a musical ballet twist like the american ballet and the crowning jewels, diamonds, are as sophisticated and precise as the russian ballet.

the music also matches the symbolic meanings. emeralds dance to extracts from Gabriel Fauré's Pelléas et Mélisande (1898) and Shylock (1889), rubies twirl to Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra (1929) by Igor Stravinsky and diamonds shine to the tones of  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 3 in D major (1875).

so now that we have the general overview, let's get to the really exciting part, the costumes! 
i was really excited, like imagine how many things you could do with costumes for not only a ballet play but picturing jewels! i was so pumped. 

it turns out i overshot the creativity of the costume designer, Barbara Karinska. i know, it's probably a shock, she designed so many wonderful costumes. 
and now hear me out. i'm not saying the costumes aren't wonderful. they are so well crafted and beautiful, they kinda look like i could imagine them but come on... so much more could have been done to them!

photos for reference:

in each act there are the 'main' dancers and of course the back... (i don't know, i know the minimal things about ballet). the problem for me was that there wasn't much difference between the main and others... like none at all. i suppose it was a conscious decision, since those are the same jewels, but i was just so disappointed... 

the thing i thought was really well thought out was the style of the costumes. they were quite nicely fitted to the choreography and music. but they didn't look like jewels and i think that was the main point.

look at this. the tulle is so nice, the colour is perfectly matched. but the design on the front is just so generic.


this is even more generic. the 'rubies' skirt doesn't move with her dance. after rubies i sort of lost hope for these costumes.


these sort of restored my peace of mind. for me it was the best part.

i think i'm done here. have you seen it by any chance? what do you think of the costumes?

btw do you like those 'review' things?



ps. the photos are not mine, taken by damir yusupov and elena fetisova, curtesy of the bolshoi theatre website.

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