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  • "Frida Kahlo - Defining Moments" by Moveo Dance Company at Teatru Manoel in Malta, June 10-12

"Frida Kahlo - Defining Moments" by Moveo Dance Company at Teatru Manoel in Malta, June 10-12

10 June 2022

With choreography by Diane Portelli, the ballet tells the story of Frida's great resilience in the face of tragedy.

The image of a naked Kahlo, her body cut in half and showing a crumbling column instead of her spinal cord, inspired Moveo director and choreographer Diane Portelli. Frida painted this painting at the age of 44, after undergoing a series of spine surgery to address long-term issues stemming from a terrible traffic accident when she was 18 years old.

“I was very intrigued by the contrast of beauty and horror in that painting, and it sparked the idea of playing with her duality,” shares Portelli. “She showed enormous emotional strength despite having a broken body and heart.”

“Nothing was straightforward with Frida, which makes her life story so relatable and timeless,” says Portelli. “Her relationship with Diego was filled with as much turmoil as it was passionate. Our show will feature Kahlo herself, her sister Christina, and Diego. Both Diego and Christina were pivotal to her life story, especially because their affair caused Frida great anguish, which is one of the themes tackled in the performance.”

“A total cast of six dancers will also play other very important roles - extensions of Kahlo’s pain and broken body, the foetuses she lost in her miscarriages, the brushstrokes of her paintings, and the Mexican people starting the revolution,” Portelli explains. “The creative process was very collaborative and intense. The only way to convey the intensity of the characters was to truly immerse ourselves into their life story.”

“Frida endured 32 surgeries which were excruciatingly painful and might have led to her having multiple miscarriages,” recalls Portelli. “So we did several workshops exploring pain in different circumstances, like childbirth or broken bones. We also found ways to relate to her heartbreak through our personal experiences. The dancers were extremely receptive and open to the process.”

The artist's pride in her Mexican origin is another part of Kahlo's life that Portelli did not overlook. “For most of her adult life, she insisted on wearing traditional Tehuana dresses, partly to cover her deformed right leg, but also to make a strong political statement,” Portelli says. “These elements are also captured in the performance, through Ritianne Zammit’s costume design and the music composed by Albert Garzia.”

(taken from Times of Malta)

Frida Kahlo - Defining Moments, a Teatru Manoel production, will be performed at Teatru Manoel on June 10, 11 and 12. 

Tickets and detailed info at the link below.