I saw the first cast and I thought it was a thoroughly well performed Jewels. I felt Emeralds and Diamonds was performed better than when I saw POB perform it. I
liked Lamb in Rubies but I didn't think Acosta was suited to thart particular role and the soloist work was ok. Yanowsky was a joy to watch.
Emeralds was beautifully danced and I cannot imagine it being any better, it certainly knocked spots off the Kirov version I saw.
With regards to the smiles, I'm not sure that this is a company trait, certainly not in the ballets I usually see the RB in but since this was coached with the Balanchine trust and knowing how precise they are I should think this is what was asked of the company.
It is interesting to see that some reviews felt it was better performed than other companies and vice versa.
What we have to remember is that when the Royal Ballet dance Balanchine they do it with their own touch on the choreography. If one wanted to see it performed like NYCB then we should see NYCB and I think that the Royal made a very coherent, beautifully danced version which was obviously given the thumbs up from the trust, at least in the first cast that I watched.
Here is the Guardian and Observer reviews:
http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/danc ... 50,00.html
http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/danc ... 28,00.html