Sunday, March 23, 2003

Ballet begins with Balanchine jewel


By Carol Norris
Enquirer contributor

[photo] Dancers from George Balanchine's Jewels.
(Cincinnati Ballet photo)
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Cincinnati Ballet opens its 2003-04 season with one of the most ambitious works in its repertory: George Balanchine's full-length Jewels.

"We're thrilled to finally be able to do Jewels again," artistic director Victoria Morgan says. "It puts Cincinnati Ballet on the map - and it celebrates Balanchine's centennial."

When Jewels was first performed by the company in 1996, the only other group that had done it was New York City Ballet, where it was created. Since then, a number of larger companies have added it. It has remained at the top of Morgan's must-do list.

Collaboration with Columbus' BalletMet makes the huge undertaking possible. The ballet is in three parts - "Diamonds," "Rubies" and "Emeralds" and requires more than 50 dancers.

"It's a true collaboration," said BalletMet artistic director Gerard Charles, explaining that his entire company of 28 dancers will dance in the production along with 31 dancers from Cincinnati Ballet. The ballet will run in both Columbus and Cincinnati, with principals of both companies alternating in major roles.

"With the financial situation of most companies these days, we can't be isolated. Working together like this is a win-win situation for both of us," Charles said.

Cincinnati Ballet has a history of working with BalletMet. A number of ballets by former BalletMet artistic director David Nixon are in the repertory. In the 2001-02 season, the companies did a swap - Cincinnati's Peter Pan performed in Columbus for Columbus' Dracula here. This is the first occasion to feature dancers from both companies together.


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