Dutch National Ballet Presents the Premiere of FRIDA - A Ballet Inspired By The Life Story Of Frida Kahlo

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Dutch National Ballet Presents the Premiere of FRIDA - A Ballet Inspired By The Life Story Of Frida Kahlo

Dutch National Ballet presents the world premiere of Frida, a ballet inspired by the life story of Frida Kahlo. Annabelle Lopez Ochoa choreographs the ballet about one of the most intriguing artists of the 20th century. Frida Kahlo became world famous for her paintings, many of them self-portraits. She was also a great advocate of equal rights, broke taboos, was far ahead of her time in her battle for gender neutrality and did not let the doom that struck her restrain her.

Frida will have its world premiere at Dutch National Ballet on Thursday February 6, 2020 and can be seen until Tuesday February 25, 2020 at Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Amsterdam.

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, half Colombian, half Belgian, is only partly attracted by the Latin American connection she has with the Mexican Kahlo. Ochoa is particularly fascinated and inspired by the way in which Kahlo has managed to transmute her sorrow, pain and immobility into art. The ballet is not so much about the life of Kahlo, but depicts Frida's feelings and perceptions through important events in her life such as the loneliness that haunted Kahlo all her life, her complex relationship with Diego Rivera, her bisexuality and the way she has crafted her own image.

Ochoa created a short ballet about Frida Kahlo for English National Ballet in 2016 entitled Broken Wings, titled after Kahlo's biography, Alas Rotas. Ochoa: 'Even before Broken Wings premièred, I felt it should be a full-length ballet, because there was too much happening in too short a space of time.' Therefore it was a 'dream come true' when Ted Brandsen, artistic director of Dutch National Ballet, offered her the chance to develop her ideas in a large-scale new production.

Lopez Ochoa creates the full evening work for 50 dancers. The American film and theater director Nancy Meckler does the dramaturgy. The costume and set designs are from the Dutch designer Dieuweke van Reij. British composer Peter Salem, best known for his work for film and theatre, is creating a longer arrangement of the music he wrote for Broken Wings, this time also using Mexican instruments. The score is supplemented with songs from the Costa Rican / Mexican singer Chavela Vargas.

Frida Kahlo's (1907-1954) life was anything but easy. Contracting polio when she was six, at 18 she was in a near-fatal accident that permanently injured her pelvic bone and spine. As a distraction from the pain and isolation, she began painting. Her colourful self-portraits were personal 'journals' in which she could express her soul. At the age of 22 Frida married fellow artist Diego Rivera. Though they would spend the next 25 years painting each other, theirs was not a happy marriage, thanks in no small part to Rivera's ongoing infidelities. Towards the end of her life, Kahlo said she had suffered two bad accidents in her life: 'One was the streetcar, the other was my husband. My husband was by far the worst'.

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is half Colombian and half Belgian, but she made her name as a dancer in the Netherlands and started to choreograph while still dancing. In recent years, her international career has really taken off. In the past 15 years she has created more than 90 choreographies for over 50 companies amongst New York City Ballet, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet and Ballet Moscow. For Dutch National Ballet she created Last Resistance, a collaboration with the Dutch singer: Wende Snijders. She is a versatile choreographer, whose work includes flamenco, hip-hop, classical ballet and contemporary dance.

Lopez Ochoa received the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award in March 2019. Jacob's Pillow Director Pamela Tatge: 'Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is (...) a global citizen, she creates rigorous works of great beauty and intensity in hybrid contemporary and classical ballet vocabularies that enable dancers to truly realize themselves. Ochoa demands that dancers are deeply and unabashedly present, and because of this, the audience cannot help but be drawn to them.'

Tickets can be booked online via the website www.operaballet.nl.

Dutch National Ballet Presents the Premiere of FRIDA - A Ballet Inspired By The Life Story Of Frida Kahlo

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