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Ballet West to Dazzle at Northrop with George Balanchine's Jewels with live orchestra


January 30, 2020

Minneapolis, MN (Jan 29) Ballet West will shine brightly with George Balanchine’s visually stunning abstract ballet, Jewels, at Northrop Feb 22-23. Noted by The New York Times as a perfect introduction to ballet, Jewels is a full-length examination of the history, beauty, and diversity of ballet technique with music performed by a live orchestra. The masterpiece encompasses three movements with distinct moods and music: Emeralds, set to Gabriel Fauré’s dreamlike score evoking France; Rubies, featuring the high intensity of Igor Stravinsky’s jazzy energy as a nod to urban America; and Diamonds, representing the imperial court of Russia with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s awe-inspiring sound.

Northrop Presents

Ballet West

Jewels with live orchestra

Sat, Feb 22, 7:30 pm & Sun Feb 23, 2:00 pm

Carlson Family Stage

Ballet West’s Jewels will bring a treasure chest of choreography, costumes, and composers to Northrop’s stage for two performances. Choreographer George Balanchine premiered Jewels in 1967 as a uniquely plotless full-length ballet with three pieces set in different eras. Emeralds opens with an ethereal performance reminiscent of 19th-century France during the Romantic era. In contrast, Rubies provides a show-stopping, fiery, and flirtatious performance with imagery of New York City nightlife. The performance closes with an homage to Balanchine’s homeland, St. Petersburg, with the triumphant, decadent Diamonds. The three acts work together to create a spectacular display that ignites and inspires.

George Balanchine, who is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet, was inspired by the jewelry of designer Claude Arpels for this masterpiece. Balanchine also was noted to have simply explained, “The whole thing was—I like jewels” of the production. This broad inspiration plays into his prolific creations of plotless ballets, where there is no central storyline, but instead body movement, musical selection, and theatrical elements are used to provoke emotion. Balanchine even went so far as to never feature a star in his ballets, as he found that his performances should outshine the individual.

Ballet West was co-founded in 1963 in Salt Lake City by Willam F. Christensen and Utah’s “First Lady of the Arts” Glenn Walker Wallace. From Balanchine to Tharp, the company boasts a rich repertory and has toured the world several times over. Today, current Artistic Director Adam Sklute continues to energize Ballet West with new works by renowned choreographers, all while preserving the company’s classical legacy. Ballet West previously performed at Northrop in Oct 2015.


Northrop Presents

George Balanchine Forever

Film Screening

Wed, Feb 12, 6:30 pm

Best Buy Theater

FREE and open to the public

Filmed during the Paris Opera Ballet’s 2006 production of Jewels, this documentary features clips of the company’s performance and candid interviews with costume designer Christian Lacroix, principal dancers and artistic staff of the Paris Opera Ballet, and Barbara Horgan of the Balanchine Trust.

Performance Preview

Sat, Feb 22, 6:15 pm

Best Buy Theater

FREE and open to the public

Gain insight into the performance at an in-depth conversation with Ballet West’s Artistic Director Adam Sklute and Northrop Director of Programming Kristen Brogdon.


Three Jewels: The Music of France, America, and Russian

Sun, Feb 23, 12:45 pm

Best Buy Theater

FREE and open to the public

Hear a presentation by Matt Bribitzer-Stull, a member of the University of Minnesota’s School of Music and the Director of the University Honors Program, about the music of Jewels and the selections Balanchine programmed for this ballet.

Pop-Up Library

Sat, Feb 22, before the performance and during intermission

East Atrium

Explore a selection of books, scores, and recordings curated from University of Minnesota Libraries that showcase the breadth and depth of the music, dance, arts and culture-inspired materials.


To order tickets, visit Northrop’s website or call 612-624-2345.

Special offers: Tickets are 50% off for children 17 and younger when purchased with at least one adult ticket. Two $30 tickets plus drink tickets are available for patrons aged 30 and younger with proper ID.

Many other discounts are available.


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


Rooted in the belief that the arts are essential to the human experience, Northrop is committed to cultivating intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.

Artist and programs are subject to change.

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.


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