1. AN ODE TO FRIDA KAHLO
Frida tells the intriguing life story of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). While Frida lived a life fraught with pain and tragedy, she found a way to use her struggles as a source of inspiration for her art. The result? A large number of iconic paintings that continue to inspire people from all over the world to this day. With her ballet Frida, choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa pays tribute to this exceptional artist.
2. DANCE AND PAINTING COLLIDE
In her ballet, Lopez Ochoa takes us by the hand to lead us through Frida’s fantasy world. In a series of captivating scenes imbued with symbolism, she brings Frida’s paintings and the main characters portrayed in them to life on the stage, illustrating the pivotal moments in Frida’s existence. The style Frida used in her paintings is reflected in the choreography, which serves to increasingly blur the lines between dance and painting.
3. EXPLOSION OF COLOUR
Costume and set designer Dieuweke van Reij incorporated many iconic elements from Frida’s artworks in her production design. These include skeletons, Mexican skirts, red threading, animals and natural materials such as leaves and branches. This effectively immerses the audience into the world of Frida’s paintings. The performance starts off in monochrome shades – black, grey and white – but as soon as Frida discovers painting as an outlet, the set transforms into an explosion of colour.
4. POETIC SOUNDS AND MEXICAN INFLUENCES
British composer Peter Salem wrote the music for Frida. He is best known for his soundtracks for movies and TV series, such as Call The Midwife and BBC’s Great Expectations. Similar to both Lopez Ochoa and Van Reij, his composition for Frida was inspired first of all by Frida’s paintings, which he has called ‘layered and poetic, but also having a certain simple kind of beauty‘. Salem has also mixed in Mexican influences into his music: the harp plays a central role in his composition, as do the marimba, the guitar and percussion instruments. On top of this, he incorporated songs by Frida’s good friend Chavela Vargas, a well-known singer.
5. WORLDWIDE SUCCESS
When Frida was first performed by Dutch National Ballet in 2020, the house was sold out every night. Since then, ‘Frida Fever’ has also spread to the United States. Last summer, Dutch National Ballet danced the successful US premiere of Frida at The Music Center in Los Angeles, making good on the prediction Theaterkrant expressed at the world premiere in 2020, i.e. that this choreography would undoubtedly take the world by storm.
- Dutch National Ballet will be performing Frida from 8 through 25 February 2024 at Dutch National Opera & Ballet