The aptly-named Jewels, a glittering array of three diverse ballet styles, three composers, three costume and set changes - and one choreographer, George Balanchine, was the Kirov Ballet's opening offer to Birmingham.
The company was the first in Europe to stage Jewels in its entirety although in reality it is a fake full-length work and more a collection of standalone pieces wrapped up in a gemstone theme.
Emeralds, Rubies, Diamonds - just as their names suggest an increasing value so it is with this plotless ballet. Set to a Faure score, Emeralds is cool, romantic and vaguely mysterious. Balanchine described it as "perhaps the evocation of France, the France of elegance, comfort, dress, perfume."
It is also the least convincing of the trio of trinkets with the least challenging steps and shiny green leotards and dingy net skirts (recreated from Karinska's original designs) that could be from an amateur dance show.
Olesya Novikova and Anastasia Kolegova in the leading female roles both had a captivating youthfulness, however, that suited the mood of the piece and rescued it from bland.
Where Emeralds is serene, Rubies is American bravura. The audience gasped as the curtain rose on strands of giant jewels suspended in air and dancers in short tunics with flippy skirts encrusted in rubies.
This scene is the Balanchine we know best, all quirky-angled arms and legs and off-centred positions set to a Stravinsky score virtually impossible to count.
Balanchine, Russian-born and himself a former Kirov dancer, created Jewels for his New York City Ballet almost 40 years ago. Yet the Kirov Ballet is as comfortable with his unconventional choreography as if it had been made on them, adding only their legendary lyricism. Indeed, the company's uniform body shape is the Balanchine ideal he honed at NYCB - long limbed, long necked, fine-featured, elegant.
Alina Somova was a coquettish Rubies showgirl, throwing up her long legs to astonishing heights and rattling the gemstones on her skirt above the superb sound of pianist Ludmila Sveshnikova playing the composer's Capriccio. She and Andrian Fadeyev gave a polished performance, breezing through the fast-paced choreography and clearing enjoying it.
The final act, Diamonds, is widely considered to be the choreographer's homage to Marius Petipa, the 19th century Russian god of classical ballet and one would expect the Kirov to be entirely at home here with its grand Imperial - Kirov - style.
The dancers shone in their white tutus and tiaras against a back drop of giant diamonds and the swirling, immaculately timed patterns they made to Tchaikovsky's majestic score were a familiar scene a la Swan Lake or The Sleeping Beauty. It was easy to imagine it as the staging of a long-lost piece of Petipa.
Viktoria Tereshkina was a fairytale princess to Evgeny Ivanchenko's dashing prince. They looked calmly regal yet were on stage for virtually 30 minutes of non-stop, technically demanding classical ballet. It's what the Kirov does best.