• Julia Sumzina

English National Ballet: Broken Wings of Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is an iconic figure for art of XX and XXI centuries. She is a symbol: of the woman in art, of Mexico, of freedom and, surely, of strength of spirit.


Broken Wings by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is the ballet based on Frida's life and art. It is filled with colourful male “Fridas”, day-of-the-dead skeletons and dancing birds in marvelous costumes. The music, by Peter Salem, is performed by English National Ballet Philharmonic and La Llorona (a Mexican folk song, the most famous is the performance by Chavela Vargas, a friend of Frida) as the climax of the story.


Tamara Rojo, a Spanish principal dancer and now English National Ballet's artistic director, seems an ideal performer of the role of Frida as beautiful, natural, broken, but strong and passionate woman. We can feel she lives on the stage. Even in extremely difficult choreography, Tamara and Irek Mukhamedov (Diego Rivera) tell us the story and perfectly show the feelings in this great and painful story of love.


The harmony of this piece of art is fascinating. Choreography, image, emotions, characters are united in the unique atmosphere of life and vivid beauty of art. The costumes by Dieuweke van Reij deserve the special mentioning. The creatures from Frida Kahlo´s paintings become real in the ballet dancing with an amazing plastique and the feeling of rythm and the costumes of grogeous male Fridas, charming birds, fragile magical Deer and others help this sad but beautiful Mexican fairy tale live on the stage.

All this makes Broken Wings a kind of a manifest: of art, of beauty, of femininity. For me it is about humanity and the power of art.

Text: Julia Sumzina, @js_artsreview

Photos: Laurent Liotardo (@balletandphotos), ENB

Videos: English National Ballet

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