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Suzanne Farrell rehearses Sara Mearns in George Balanchine's "Diamonds." Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy NYCB.

In a large practice studio inside Lincoln Center's Koch Theater, Suzanne Farrell watches quietly as New York City Ballet principals Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen work through a series of supported poses. As Janzen kneels to face her, Mearns brushes through to croisé arabesque, extending her leg high behind her. "I wouldn't penché there," says Farrell, gently. "You can, but I wouldn't."

"I get so excited here," says Mearns with a laugh. The three are slowly working through the pas de deux of "Diamonds," the ballet George Balanchine created on Farrell and Jacques D'Amboise in 1967 that makes up the third act of his full-length Jewels.

"I know," Farrell says. "But it's more exciting if the arabesque turn afterwards is sustained."

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Original Diamonds cavalier Jacques d'Amboise shows PNB soloist Jerome Tisserand how to properly woo a lady onstage.

To polish Pacific Northwest Ballet’s staging of Balanchine’s timeless Jewels (1967), artistic director Peter Boal called in the experts. He invited the very first interpreters of lead roles in the ballet to offer their guidance to his cast. Once stars of the New York City Ballet stage, these icons continue to shape the dance world as renowned educators and directors. Fortunately, cameras caught clips of them in action during their coaching sessions in Seattle. Jacques d'Amboise, who founded the National Dance Institute, Violette Verdy, who teaches ballet at Indiana University, and longtime Miami City Ballet director Edward Villella offered inspirational nuggets of wisdom for performing the pieces they helped define more than 40 years ago.

When d'Amboise mentors Diamonds’ principals, he demonstrates why less is more and doesn't miss an opportunity to smooch a beautiful woman's (Lesley Rausch) hand:

For Emeralds, the charming Verdy discusses dancers’ motivation and the origin of movements (plus we get to see a nice clip of the beautiful Carla Körbes in motion!):

During his coaching session on Rubies, Villella stresses the importance of making sure the movement expresses Balanchine's signature style:

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