This show was to be seen in February 2020


Nationale Opera & Ballet, Grote Zaal

Running time

2:15, 1 break



Woman with red flowers

Ballet about an iconic artist

Frida by choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa was inspired by the life story of Frida Kahlo. One of the most intriguing artists of the twentieth century, the Mexican-born Kahlo refused to bow to misfortune, zealously fought taboos and championed women's rights, and painted portraits that became famous the world over.

The icon Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) had all but an easy life. At six she was diagnosed with polio and at eighteen she was nearly fatally wounded causing her spine to be damaged for good. To distract herself from the pain and loneliness, she started to paint, mostly colourful portraits of herself. She showed her soul through these 'diaries'. At 22 Frida married artist Diego Rivera. The couple paints one another for 25 years, but - partly due to Rivera's cheating - weren't happy. In her final years, Kahlo says she has had two accidents, "one where I was hit by a tram, and another was my husband. My husband was worst."

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is half-Columbian, half-Belgian and is known in the Netherlands for her dancing. She also started creating choreographies. The last couple of years she grew to be well known internationally. She created work for the New York City Ballet, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet and Ballet Moscow. For Last Resistance, the choreography Lopez Ochoa created for Dutch Doubles 2018, she was inspired by Dutch singer Wende Snijders. She received the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award for this in March 2019.

Tekeningen van de kleurrijke kostuums van Frida


Ochoa – whose Last Resistance, a co-creation with Dutch singer Wende Snijders, won acclaim in early 2018 – became fascinated by the Mexican artist after seeing the film Frida (2002). ‘Until that moment I’d never understood why she was so famous, but this film made me realise how she managed to transmute her pain and immobility.’ Ochoa grabbed the opportunity to pursue this fascination in 2016 when Tamara Rojo, artistic director of the English National Ballet, asked her to contribute to She Said, a triple bill of choreographies by women, inspired by iconic women of the past. The result was Broken Wings, titled after Kahlo’s biography, Alas Rotas

Broken Wings

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. Like Broken Wings, Frida is less a linear story of the artist’s life and more a visual reimagination of how she felt and experienced the world.

Tekeningen van de Frida kostuums
Tekeningen van de Frida kostuums

Expressive surrealism

In creating this full-length choreography, Ochoa’s aim was to flesh out the ‘expressive surrealism that dance – by analogy to Kahlo’s paintings – can embody’, delving even deeper into the loneliness that haunted Kahlo all her life, her relationship with Diego Rivera, her bisexuality, and the way she crafted her own image.

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. Internationally acclaimed Dutch designer Dieuweke van Reij is supplying the colourful sets and costumes.

Dutch National Ballet will perform Frida again in season 2023-2024. More information and tickets can be found via the link below:

Maia Makhateli excells with her dancing technique, but with her drama as well. Her Frida is an ode to lust for life and female resilience.

10 February