Frida Kahlo inspires the transformation of the English National Ballet

By Fernanda Duque Hernández

Tamara Rojo creates a ballet about the life and work of the Mexican painter

Once again, Frida Kahlo is the main inspiration for art, this time the English National Ballet, which is currently working on a new performance based on the polemical life and work of the Mexican painter. ‘Broken Wings’ is part of a female revolution led by Tamara Rojo, the new Art Director of the institution, who has organized a program that includes several acts choreographed only by women.

broken wings english national ballet 2

Still taken from:"She Said: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings - rehersal trailer", by English National Ballet, via YouTube

I’ve been working professionally since I was 16 years old and as a dancer I had actually never performed a ballet shaped by a woman… So I decided to commission a program with three choreographers and we decided to call it ‘She Said’ as part of our idea that as artists we have something to say”, stated Tamara Rojo for the English National Ballet.

broken wings english national ballet 4

Still taken from:"She Said: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings - rehersal trailer", by English National Ballet, via YouTube

With this in mind, Rojo brought together Aszure Barton, Yabin Wang and Annabel Lopez Ochoa, who suggested the idea of a ballet made about Frida Kahlo, a woman with strong ideals who became a global icon.

broken wings english national ballet 1

Still taken from:"She Said: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings - rehersal trailer", by English National Ballet, via YouTube

About 10 years ago I saw a movie about her life and it made me appreciate how she’d been able to transform her sorrows and her pain into art. It was inspiring: I wanted to be like Frida and use my own experience more directly in my work, and I wanted to be able to share her story with an audience”, Lopez Ochoa told to The Guardian.

broken wings english national ballet 3

Still taken from:"She Said: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings - rehersal trailer", by English National Ballet, via YouTube

On the interview with the English media, the Colombian-Belgian choreographer said that the adaptation of ‘Broken Wings’ was a challenge because she wanted to tell the basic facts of Kahlo’s life, “we needed to show the accident, but we didn’t need the bus”.

broken wings english national ballet 5

Still taken from:"She Said: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings - rehersal trailer", by English National Ballet, via YouTube

But this is not the first time that Frida is the source of inspiration for the character of a ballet, in 2013 the Berlin State Ballet –under the direction of the Russian Yuri Smekalov- made ‘Infinita Frida’ (Infinite Frida) a neoclassical performance in honor of the painter, who was personified by the famous Mexican dancer –and Prima Ballerina- Elisa Carrillo.

‘She Said’ and ‘Broken Wings’ will be presented from April 13th to 16th at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre of London.

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