At the close of this season, Kaori Nakamura will end her dazzling 17-year career as a principal dancer for the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Dancing with PNB since 1997, Nakamura has held more than 40 lead roles and made guest appearances across the globe, but her real impact can be gleaned from anyone who’s witnessed her talents. Fellow PNB principal dancer Jonathan Porretta described her artistic athleticism as “the epitome of grace and lightness, strength and fierceness.” He recalls the twinkle in her eye “both full of mischief and love,” no doubt part of her spark that has lit up audiences for so long. Luckily, PNB won’t be losing her entirely as Nakamura will lend her ample talents to the prestigious PNB School. There are plenty of chances this season to catch her impeccable technique and intense passion before she retires to teach it, starting with The Sleeping Beauty.