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Carla Körbes in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Swan Lake / photo by Angela Sterling

Yesterday I learned that my favorite ballerina is going to retire in June.  Many people in the American ballet-going community let out a collective gasp of dismay upon hearing this news.  I certainly did.

If you’ve been following along for the past year and a half or so, you may have noticed that I turned into a rabid balletomane in April 2013.  Seeing Carla Körbes dance in Swan Lake is what made that happen.  She quite literally brought tears to my eyes with the exquisitely nuanced beauty of her dancing.

How lucky I have been to have been able to see her dance several times since then (and how I wish I had seen her earlier).  She was out recovering from injury most of last season, and this season I was already planning to see her dance as much as I could, since you never know… and then this news broke, and so did my heart a bit.  I know it will break a lot on June 7, her final performance, and before that, on her last performance of PNB’s full-length Swan Lake.  But first it will break a little next weekend when I see her in this season’s opening performances.  And every time in between that I am fortunate enough to be in the audience when she graces the stage of McCaw Hall.



  1. Write a letter to her, thanking her for what her dancing has done for you. It doesn’t help the sadness of her retiring, but letting someone know how much she meant to your creative and personal growth will make her day.

    I did this when my favorite professor moved to Texas. I didn’t expect to hear back from her, but she did write to tell me how much my card moved her. She said college instructors usually don’t know how much of an impact they have on their students, or even if it’s been positive. I think stage artists feel the same way.

    • That’s a great suggestion, and I will probably do that.

      • Hey, you didn’t think it was a great suggestion when I said the same thing on Thursday. HG may have suggested it a bit more eloquently than I did, of course. I’m pretty sure I ended my suggestion with: “…if you could write it without being all creepy.” Either way, I think it’s a good idea.

        I also wanted to let you know that I put Wanda Jackson on pause for 4:57 and watched that second video. Carla Körbes looks familiar to me. Are you sure I haven’t seen her dance?

        • She may have been in that one dress rehearsal I dragged you to three years ago of short contemporary works. At that point she wasn’t on my radar yet.

  2. She is an exquisite dancer -(going by your clips) I have not been a big ballet fan but can appreciate the beauty of it in short bursts. I hope you had a lovely birthday yesterday.

    • Thank you, Emjay, I did have a lovely birthday! Tonight was special too as I got to see Carla dance in the dress rehearsal of the first production this season (George Balanchine’s Jewels) and she was so beautiful in a role I missed seeing her in in 2013 (sadly she was injured).

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