All good things come to an end. Some just end sooner than we all hoped. Last week, Carla Körbes announced that the 2014–15 Pacific Northwest Ballet season will be her last. Since joining PNB in 2005 and becoming a principal dancer a year later, the Brazilian native's radiant talent has made her a star on the McCaw Hall stage and earned lavish praise on a national level. She's even garnered a New York Times profile and been featured in Vanity Fair. New York Times dance critic Gia Kourlas described the news of Körbes's retirement as "shattering" and proclaimed "she is a ballerina that comes along once in a lifetime."
At just 33 years old, Körbes' early retirement is unfortunately spurred (at least partially) by injury. The troubles began when she tore her meniscus dancing Christopher Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic in May 2013. After undergoing surgery, which revealed additional existing issues with her patella, she went through a very difficult recovery period. As she put it in a PNB press release, "My body is ready to move on, so I need to respect that."
Thankfully, there are still plenty of chances to see Körbes before she hangs up the pointe shoes. She's scheduled to dance in Jewels, Nutcracker (the final year of Stowell and Sendak's rendition), Don Quixote, and Swan Lake before being honored at the PNB Season Encore performance. Körbes impending departure marks the second major PNB principal retirement in as many years, after Kaori Nakamura called it a career after the 2013–14 season.
Körbes and the rest of PNB open the 2014–15 season this Friday, September 26 with a performance of George Balanchine's three-part color-coded gem Jewels, which runs through October 5.
Sept 26–Oct 5, McCaw Hall, $37–$184