I shouldn't be surprised when I flip through a national magazine and find a Seattle star in its pages, but this striking photo of Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Carla Körbes stopped me cold. The February issue of Vanity Fair spotlights the Brazilian-born ballerina, who spent five years with New York City Ballet before joining PNB in 2005, and compliments her "ability to transcend mere brilliance and break our hearts."
"When Carla Körbes dances, time stops," writes Damian Woetzel. Too true. We've seen it happen before, when she dances a White Swan pas de deux or a Christopher Wheeldon premiere with impossible grace. (Her only weakness, it appears, is hip hop.) She'll take her turn this month as a star-crossed lover in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette at McCaw Hall, February 1–10.
This is no ordinary story ballet; it premiered at Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in 1996 and debuted here in 2008 with "playful, erotic spontaneity that gives off the pop fizz of a heady movie romance," wrote then-Seattle Met arts editor Steve Wiecking. This year's revival features new sets and costumes and familiar faces in the title roles: Soloist James Moore and principal dancer Kaori Nakamura carry the torch on opening night, in rotation with principal Seth Orza and Körbes, soloist Jerome Tisserand and principal Lesley Rausch, and former PNB principals Noelani Pantastico and Lucien Postlewaite—who were so moved by Maillot's choreography, they have since joined his Ballets de Monte-Carlo—for one night only (February 9).
Following this local staging, the full company will travel to New York City for the first time since '96 to dance Roméo et Juliette at New York City Center (Feb 15 & 16); select PNB dancers will also perform a mixed bill of Balanchine works on February 13. It's a testament to artistic director Peter Boal that there's such high demand for our local ballet company outside the region. See Roméo et Juliette before New Yorkers lay claim to it, and as Vanity Fair says, "expect to be transported."
Roméo et Juliette
Feb 1–10, McCaw Hall, $28–$183