Goodbye, Carla Körbes

September 17, 2014

It’s just been announced that Pacific Northwest Ballet star Carla Körbes will retire at the end of this season. In a press release, the 33-year-old said she hopes to keep ballet in her life, exploring the art form in new ways, but she doesn’t give any details about what those new endeavors might include. Needless to say, she will be greatly missed at PNB. She joined as a soloist in 2005, and was promoted to principal the following year. Her fearless energy sucks audiences into whatever world she’s inhabiting onstage. She brings dynamism to lyrical movement and a supple strength to the sharpest of steps. PNB’s ranks are filled with captivating dancers—including exciting up-and-comers like Angelica Generosa and Leta Biasucci—but none currently match the all-around star power of Körbes.


In the release, artistic director Peter Boal shared his fateful first memory of Körbes, when he was flown to Brazil to perform with a local student: “When a stick of a girl named Carlinha entered the stage with a blonde bun the size of a brioche and arches to match, I was in awe. Trust me when I say I’m not the kind of person who would summon a translator to tell a 14-year-old she needed to leave her home and her family in order to move to New York City to train at the School of American Ballet, but after one seamless run-through of the pas de deux in Apollo, I knew I needed to take action. Carla was that rare bird with a gift greater than she, her parents or her teacher understood. She offered the very essence of the Balanchine aesthetic coupled with true graciousness and instinctive musicality.”


Boal was also completely candid about how he feels about losing his star: “I’ve been in denial. When I think about the many exquisite moments she has afforded us over the past decade, I think I might be selfish to want more. One more Kitri, one more Odette/Odile and one more In the Middle, please? But I trust Carla with this difficult decision. After all, she’s always had impeccable timing.”