Podcast Episode 9: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

My guest for episode 9 of the Rogue Ballerina podcast is world-renowned choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. We discuss her career and process, using the studio as a playground, creating new heroine roles for ballerinas, and pandemic silver linings.

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is an award-winning and sought-after choreographer that has created works for 67 dance companies around the world such as the Dutch National Ballet, English National Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, and Dance Theater of Harlem, among others.

A versatile choreographer, Lopez Ochoa creates regularly within the dance field but also for theater, opera, and musical theater. Her wide-ranging body of work includes short conceptual pieces, full-length narrative ballets, and dance films. The Colombian-Belgian Lopez Ochoa completed her dance education at the Royal Ballet of Antwerp. After a 12-year career in a number of European dance companies, Lopez Ochoa decided in 2003 to focus solely on choreography. That same year, she was hailed as the “rising star of the Dutch dance scene (NRC newspaper) and only seven years later, the Temecula Performing Arts Examiner wrote: “Ochoa is truly a masterful choreographer with an edge for what dance can and should be in this constantly changing industry.”

In 2012, she was awarded the Best Classical choreography award by the Circle of Critics of the National Dance Award UK for A Streetcar Named Desire, created for the Scottish Ballet. That same year, the work was nominated for an Olivier Award. In 2016, Broken Wings, choreographed for the English National Ballet was nominated for numerous awards and reworked into a full-length ballet, FRIDA, for the Dutch National Ballet in 2020.

In 2019, she became the recipient of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, as well as being named the program director of the Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Classical Summer Course, a position she will hold for three years. During the pandemic of 2020-2021, she pioneered remote choreography and dance film creations premiered online. She has created 22 short dance films for which she has been featured in several articles in Pointe Magazine, Bachtrack, Tv5 Mondo, Dance International, and Dance Magazine.

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