Dutch National Ballet performs “Frida”

The dance creation Frida, by Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa — with music by British composer Peter Salem, performed by a live orchestra — is inspired by the life story of Frida Kahlo. One of the most intriguing artists of the 20th century, the Mexican-born Kahlo refused to bow to misfortune, zealously fought taboos, championed women’s rights and painted self-portraits that became famous the world over.

Dutch National Ballet, the largest dance company in the Netherlands, concludes the 20th dance season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center with the U.S. premiere of Frida, from July 14–16, 2023. An homage to famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the work’s choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and composer Peter Salem weave Kahlo’s complex and colorful life into a rich work that exalts the global icon as one of the most intriguing artists of the 20th century. Ochoa delves deep into the loneliness that haunted Kahlo all her life, her relationship with husband Diego Rivera, her bisexuality and the way she crafted her own image.

The ballet delves even deeper into the loneliness that haunted Kahlo all her life, her relationship with her husband Diego Rivera, her bisexuality and the way she crafted her own image. Frida paints its own vibrant portrait of the subject’s life, art and enduring legacy through dance.

Dutch National Ballet’s residency includes The Music Center’s Dance in Focus Film Festival: REFLECTIONS, presented by The Music Center in association with Dance Camera West; a trio of master classes for high school and college dancers taught by Ochoa herself on July 5–7, 2023; and a pre-show talk on Jerry Moss Plaza at The Music Center with Dutch National Ballet’s Artistic Director Ted Brandsen prior to the Sunday matinee performance.

“The 20th season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center has been nothing short of exhilarating, and Frida is the consummate finale. We are thrilled to partner with Dutch National Ballet for the U.S. premiere of this highly anticipated work that will resonate among Frida Kahlo enthusiasts as well as those interested in learning more about her life and focus. It will be a visual feast to watch Frida Kahlo’s seminal artistry and her relentless trials and tribulations playing out quite dramatically on stage.” Rachel S. Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center.

Dutch National Ballet has developed, produced and presented ballet over the past 60 years at the highest international level, aiming to reach a wider public and bring today’s audiences into contact with the beauty and passion of the dance art form. With a unique and diverse repertoire, nearly 80 dancers from all over the world and a tradition of innovation, the company plays a leading role in Dutch cultural life and beyond. The riveting yet tragic life story of Frida Kahlo inspired choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and composer Peter Salem to create Frida from the ground up. In creating this full-length choreography, Ochoa’s aim was to flesh out the “expressive surrealism that dance—by analogy to Kahlo’s paintings—can embody.” A live orchestra, comprised of local musicians and conducted by Matthew Rowe, will provide the music to Frida.

To engage and inspire students and educators through dance and movement, The Music Center will offer three master classes for up to 20 students to be taught by Ochoa. She will teach students from Lula Washington Dance Theatre on Wednesday, July 5; college-level dancers on Thursday, July 6; and students from Straight Up Abilities on Friday, July 7.

Inspired by the iconic work of Frida Kahlo and choreographer Ochoa’s biographical ballet for Dutch National Ballet, The Music Center, in association with Dance Camera West, launched The Music Center’s Dance in Focus Film Festival: REFLECTIONS. The festival, which included an open call for submissions in January 2023, invited dance aficionados and filmmakers in Southern California to submit their original dance or choreography films (with a maximum length of 12 minutes) that explored autobiography and self-portraiture. To support the filmmakers, Dance Camera West provided three free workshops at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion that delved into the art of dance filmmaking.

Nearly 300 dance films were submitted in three categories by filmmakers: students under 18 years of age; students 18 years and older; and professional filmmakers. Films were judged by an esteemed panel of industry professionals, among them:

  • Javier De Frutos, director, choreographer and designer whose awards include the Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreography for Cabaret and The Evening Standard Award for The Most Incredible Thing in collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys;
  • Kelly Hargraves, executive director and artistic director of Dance Camera West;
  • DaEun Jung, L.A.-based dancer/choreographer and lecturer at the University of California, Riverside, whose accolades include receiving a 2023 New Music Creator Fund grant and being named a finalist of the 2022–2023 New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) National Dance Project Production Grant;
  • Dawn Stoppiello, intermedia artist and associate professor of practice, with a focus on dance and new media, at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance; and
  • Price Suddarth, soloist dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet.

The Music Center will announce the winning films on Friday, June 23, and will screen them for free to the public starting on Wednesday, July 12, on the LED screens at Jerry Moss Plaza and on The Music Center’s website. Screenings will continue throughout Dutch National Ballet’s Los Angeles residency at The Music Center. Performance ticket holders can also view the winning films in Stern Grand Hall located inside The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

The Music Center thanks Sony Pictures Entertainment for its support of The Music Center’s Dance in Focus Film Festival: REFLECTIONS.

Tickets for Dutch National Ballet’s performances at The Music Center are available for purchase online at or calling (213) 972-0711. The Music Center’s Ticket Buyer Assurance Program protects all advance ticket purchases for dance presentations through 2023. The Music Center remains committed to the highest standards of safety, sanitation and security to minimize risk for guests, artists and employees. Visit for information about The Music Center’s continued safety and security measures.

Frida is supported by the Dutch Culture USA program of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York.

The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Stern Grand Hall

135 North Grand Avenue
Los Angeles 90012

Friday, July 14, 2023, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 15, 2023, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 16, 2023, at 2:00 p.m.

Debut performance at The Music Center
Live locally-based orchestra conducted by Matthew Rowe

Concept, Libretto and Choreography: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Dramaturgy and Libretto: Nancy Meckler
Music: Peter Salem
Set and Costume Design: Dieuweke van Reij
Lighting Design: Michael Mazzola
Assistant to the Choreographer: Luis Torres

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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