By Lisa Allardice
14 April 2019
In 2016 Tamara Rojo, artistic director of English National Ballet, set out to redress the shocking realisation that in 20 years as a professional dancer she had never performed in a work by a woman. She commissioned She Said, a programme of exclusively female choreographers, now followed by She Persisted (the feminist slogan adopted after the notorious 2017 Republican putdown of US politician Elizabeth Warren).
What better way to open a showcase of female creativity than with the return of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Broken Wings, an exuberant portrayal of the troubled life of Frida Kahlo? In an impressive debut, Katja Khaniukova brings a winning combination of vulnerability and defiance to the central role (danced by Rojo in its 2016 premiere), as we follow Kahlo from mischievous schoolgirl to her tempestuous marriage to Diego Rivera, played as a bumbling, middle-aged lothario by Irek Mukhamedov.
Mexican skeletons, male dancers in the flamboyant dresses of her self-portraits, dancing monkeys and deers speared with arrows – comic touches capture the surreal playfulness of Kahlo’s art alongside the darker incidents of her story: the bus accident she suffered in her teens and the terrible injuries and miscarriages she endured as a result, all imaginatively and harrowingly suggested. The whole is both sexy and sad.
Read the full article in The Guardian.