A very sad surprise today for fans of Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Carla Körbes, who announced today that she is retiring at the end of the 2014-2015 season. Körbes, who is in her early 30s, explained her decision in a statement to this morning:
“I have had unforgettable moments with Pacific Northwest Ballet,” said Ms. Körbes regarding her decision. “I am thankful and honored to have shared the stage with all the dancers at PNB and have had the opportunity to work with such a generous staff. At this moment I am ready to start a new phase in my life. My body is ready to move on, so I need to respect that. Ballet has been my life, so I hope to continue to explore the art form in new ways and try new artistic endeavors.”
Körbes, a native of Brazil, joined PNB in 2005 after nine years in New York, as a student at the School of American Ballet and a New York City Ballet company member. A dancer of rare dramatic power and incandescent grace, she has lit up the stage in countless performances, both story ballets (“Swan Lake,” “Romeo et Juliette,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty”) and abstract (just a few: “Kiss,” “Concerto Barocco,” “Concerto DSCH,” and the “Diamonds” pas de deux in George Balanchine’s “Jewels,” which she’ll perform next weekend). It’s been a dazzling career, but one plagued by injuries — most recently, last season she was unable to perform for several months. She’s scheduled to dance through the rest of this season, and will be featured in a tribute performance June 7. Watch her while you still can; she’s a joy.
Carla Körbes in rehearsal, photographed by Angela Sterling (courtesy of PNB).