The legend is as follows: New York City Ballet cofounder George Balanchine was strolling down Fifth Avenue in the 1960s. The Russian-born choreographer was so dazzled by the shimmering stones in the Van Cleef & Arpels window that he was inspired to create his 1967 triptych ballet, “Jewels.”
The dancing is spectacular. It was both a critical and commercial success at the time of its premiere and has been revived dozens of times. The costumes, dripping with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds — or at least resin stones and crystals acting as stand-ins — are nearly as important as the dancing. Boston Ballet is currently performing “Jewels,” which runs at the Boston Opera House through Sunday.