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Choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is remounting "Broken Wings", her 2016 work about Frida

28 March 2024

Asked about resetting "Broken Wings", originally commissioned by English National Ballet, on San Francisco Ballet, the coreographer replied, “I’m really looking forward [to it] because the dancers are so committed. I was here [last fall] during the run-throughs, and I set the entire ballet, 46 minutes, bam, bam, bam, in two weeks. It’s not about how good [the dancers are technically] or how high the leg [is]. It’s the commitment to tell a story. It’s the commitment to go into the essence of someone they cannot copy. To bring it to that level in two weeks is amazing. It’s cleaning [the steps] and reminding them of the story.”

Thinking back to the premiere with English National Ballet on 2016, Lopez Ochoa revealed that, at the start, “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was creating it and discovering a little bit at a time. You’re always very vulnerable when you come up with an idea, and as choreographers we’re not good with words and the nuances of words. So I remember I had all the men coming in, and I told them why I wanted them to be dressed as Frida. I said the movement will be very frontal, actually two-dimensional, like her paintings. And I was almost, like, apologetic, saying, ‘I’m sorry. I’m not going to make interesting choreography where you’re going to sweat and show off your double tour. It’s going to be the paintings.’ And they said that they were game.”

So the restaging process at SF Ballet has had a different focus. “Here, we know that it works if it’s performed this way,” said Lopez Ochoa, “but what can you bring to it? Eight years later — different dancers, different generation, different culture — what can we add to it? So that is the difference, I think, [between] when you create from nothing and when you restage it.

San Francisco Ballet's performances on April 4–14 at the War Memorial Opera House. 

Taken from the San Francisco Classical Voice available at the link below.