Georgian dancer Maia Makhateli will lead the world premiere of Frida, a brand-new production on the life of famed artist Frida Kahlo at the Dutch National Ballet next spring.
The first soloist of the Amsterdam-based troupe will be involved in the production by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa debuting in a bill of nine shows in February.
The work marks the latest staging by Colombian-Belgian dancer and choreographer Ochoa who has been enjoying an international breakthrough while producing ballets for major companies including the New York City Ballet and English National Ballet.
Ochoa […] became fascinated by the Mexican artist after seeing the film Frida (2002) [and] grabbed the opportunity to pursue this fascination in 2016 [through her contribution to] She Said, a triple bill of choreographies by women, inspired by iconic women of the past” – Dutch National Ballet
Frida is seen by the creative less as a “linear story of the artist’s life and more a visual reimagination of how she felt and experienced the world”, with Ochoa inspired by Kahlo’s experiences with loneliness, relationship and bisexuality.
Costume and set design for the staging will come from Dieuweke van Reij, with score to be contributed by composer Peter Salem using Mexican instruments in a homage to the artist’s homeland.
Dutch Ballet Orchestra led by Matthew Rowe will be involved in the premiere, while dramaturgy will come via Nancy Meckler and lighting from Michael Mazzola.
While the troupe has not yet revealed its cast for the production, the page for the debut show features an image of Makhateli in the principal role.
The Georgian has a background of performing in roles designed after historical figures, with her 2016 appearance in Mata Hari, created after the famed 20th century spy.
Makhateli was awarded the prestigious Alexandra Radius Prize in 2015 in Amsterdam, where she has been based since joining the Netherlands’ principal company in 2007. Her honours also include the 2011 Nina Ananiashvili and Gilbert Albert Award ‘Star’ and a nomination for the Benois de la Danse prize.
The premiere programme of Frida will run at the Dutch National Ballet between February 6-25.