• Inspirations


Ballets inspired by Frida Kahlo's life and art


"Frida" - 2020

The coreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa has retained, unchanged, around 25 of the original 45 minutes’ from Broken Wings; has reworked around thirteen additional minutes’ of pre-existing choreography; and added more than an hour of new material. These old and new elements have been woven together seamlessly like a lavish Mexican shawl

"The narrative is introduced in storybook sequence contained in the stage set of black boxes. It opens on the Day of the Dead, with the ubiquitous skeletons on hand to deliver the schoolgirl Frida, a bubbly child in gym-slip, from the first box. They swing open the doors of the following box to show her happy family, then the action fast forwards to Frida in bed, after the accident, nailed together with surgical pins, her father putting a paintbrush in her hand.

To suggest the scale of Kahlo’s paintings, small in reality, but today commanding international attention and prices, Ochoa has the dancers enact them; at other times, the dancers portray Kahlo’s fantasy world of trees, birds and flowers, which she painted as a way of coping in times of stress. The skeletons are always on hand to shift scenery, to lift and carry and even to indulge in a bit of clowning in what, at times, becomes a circus atmosphere.....

The complex story is deftly handled, there is plenty of inventive choreography and a slew of excellent performances. The costumes are no small part of the success and Ochoa weaves these strands together in a ballet that has both entertainment value and depth."

taken from the review by Dance International 

Click here for other info and the link to Youtube video.

You can also watch on Youtube the "Becoming Frida" series, 4 video episodes about the making of the ballet by the Dutch National Opera & Ballet. In the first episode we learn more about the artist Frida Kahlo and how choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa translates her life into dance. In the second one we can visit the atelier of designer Dieuweke van Reij and  learn what it is like to design a ballet about an icon like Frida, including a first glimpse of the wigs, costumes and the set. In the third episode we can assist to the rehearsals of the Balletorchestra and see an interview with composer Peter Salem and with principal Maia Makhateli about dancing the role of Frida. In the last episode we can follow the final steps of the production towards the premiere, see the final rehearsals and interviews with choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, designer Dieuweke van Reij, Director Ted Brandsen and the dancers.


"Las Fridas" - 2019

Las Fridas is a 60-minute transcultural-transdisciplinary duet inspired by the life and work of Mexican painter and revolutionary, Frida Kahlo. Marie Baker-Lee and choreographer Mark DeGarmo, artistic associates for over 30 years, perform the two leading roles.

The work explores a transcultural, transdisciplinary art and theater space, while the sum of its two parts suggests a new art form.

It is inspired by the duality of sun and moon, mother and child, sacred and secular, ancient and current as they appear in Kahlo's artwork. Las Fridas calls on each community that engages with it to examine its own history, heritage and assumptions about Kahlo, women, and aging.

The implicit question the movement installation proposes is, "What if Frida Kahlo had lived beyond her forties?" In offering this work for public viewing, choreographer Mark DeGarmo pays homage to his mothers, grandmothers, mentors and friends, including renowned choreographers and dance educators Anna Sokolow and Hanya Holm, educational theorist Maxine Greene, and Living Theatre Co-Founder Judith Malina.


NY critics heralded Las Fridas as "brilliant," "mesmerizing," and "fearless."

Click here to read an interview with Mark DeGarmo and Marie Baker-Lee in The Dance Enthusiast.

Click here to view the trailer in Youtube.




"Broken Wings" - 2016

"Broken Wings" was choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa for English National Ballet's Triple Bill 'She Said'. The piece was inspired by the life of Frida Kahlo and premiered at Sadlers Wells, London in 2016. Dieuweke van Reij, costume and set designer for opera, dance, theatre, comedy, musical and TV, was invited by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa to design her piece on the life and work of iconic artist Frida Kahlo. She said in an interview: "The challenge for me was to capture the powerful energy of Frida Kahlo’s work without making exact copies of her paintings.

Her work is so strong that I felt I had to find a translation of her personality and work for the designs. Trying to copy anything would never be as impressive as her own paintings.I started using elements and colours of her work and mixing them with the story we wanted to tell, the life she led. The final result has become a mixture of iconic Frida Kahlo images, with a big Mexican influence, a hint of time period and a glance of what we think her dreams and imagination was all about." Click here for the complete interview, other interesting info and pictures.

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Broken Wings returned on February 2019 for She Persisted, an upcoming triple bill of female choreography. Read more at the English National Ballet's website










"Infinita Frida" - 2015

European premiere on July 5 and 6, 2015 in St. Petersburg at the Alexandrinsky Theatre.  World premiere: 30 August, 2013, Texcoco (Mexico).

Petersburg choreographer, the soloist of the Mariinsky Theatre Yuri Smekalov by the invitation of Elisa Carrillo Cabrera, Principal Dancer of the Berlin State Ballet, a Mexican cultural ambassador, staged the ballet "Infinita Frida" dedicated to the work of the great Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The production was financially supported by the Mexico State Government. 

"Yury Smekalov was able to inspire the leading professionals from all over the world with his concept, as a result the part of Frida and the artist Lisa was performed by the Mexican cultural ambassador and the Principal Dancer of the Berlin State Ballet – Elisa Carrillo Cabrera. The cast included Mikhail Kaniskin and Vladimir Malakhov – the Principal Dancers and soloists of the Berlin State Opera and the Mariinsky Theatre, guest actors of world premiere musical theaters. Original music was written for the ballet by the Russian composer Alexander Maev, costumes and scenery were created by young artist Elissey Shepelyov from St. Petersburg, scenography included video projections made of fragments of paintings by Frida Kahlo, emotionally corresponding to the ballet variations (author Alexander Letsius).

Yury Smekalov is outside of the popularization of the artist’s life story.  On stage the word Infinita is literally present and it is magically repeating itself in the different elements of the performance. Figure 8 as an infinity symbol harmonizes the performance: 8 musicians, 8 dancers performing the dance of Fate, 8 colors used for the scenic design, 8 themes in music."

Taken from Yury Smekalov website

Click here to view a trailer in Youtube

Other images at this website









This interactive ballet has been realized through the Digital Dance System - a tool created at the DIEM (Danish Institute of Electroacoustic Music) - that makes it possible to create interactive music in dancing. It is a wireless, digitaldanceportable system that converts the dancers movements to MIDI and allows them to control the computer music with tehir movements.

The music has been composed by Wainy Siegel, DIEM director, in collaboration with choreographer Marie Brolin-Tani. "Sisters" is a ballet for two dancers (Pernille Fynne and Sophie Konning in the November 1998 performance at an open rehearsal/workshop in Aarhus, Denmark) and the coreography is inspired by Frida's life, characterized both by 'joie de vivre' and productivity but also by her ilness as a result of childhood polio and a trafic accident which rendered her invalid. The ballet portrays the feminin and the masculin side of Frida Kahlo, the way she herself has appeared in several self portraits: as a beautiful, romantic woman and as a body wrapped in an armour of bandage and corset and the numerous nails she had operated into her poor body. One of the costumes is inspired by the corsette worn by Frida Kahlo, and the wires of the interface are exagerated and made visible to the audience. The other costume is more feminine and the interface is hidden.


"Frida Kahlo" - 1998

"Frida Kahlo"' s coreographer is Johann Kresnik and his ballet was played in 1998 at a Swiss Dance Exhibition named STEPS '98.

KresnikKresnik started his career as a dancer and for ten years, from 1968 to 1978, he was the director of the Bremer Tanztheater. He worked then for several years in Heidelberg to go back to the Bremer Tanztheater in 1989. Among his most famous and controversial works, we can mention 'Ulrike Meinhof', 'König Lear','Wendewut' and obviusly, 'Frida Kahlo' created on 1992. Since 1994 he has been working in Berlin at the Rosa Luxembourg theater. For "Frida Kahlo"'s coreography Kresnik drew his inspiration from Frida's life, and he aims to show us the ambivalent nature of this special woman through scenes full of bitterness, silent pain and beauty.



"Looking For Frida"

This ballet produced by the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre is a 50 minute piece based on the life and art of the famous Mexican female artist Frida Kahlo.

logo AsheWith colorful costumes, lively movement and some traditional music this seven act work pays tribute to an important female artist who suffered physically throughout her life, but maintained her creative spirit. The ballet is presented by 6 dancers in moderne dance theatre form.