Carla Körbes, Principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet will be giving her final performance with the company on June 7th. PNB has announced that they will be live streaming this performance and Carla will be dancing several audience favorites - Diamonds, The Calling and Serenade. We are sure this beautiful dancer will be missed at PNB - Alastair Macaulay has stated "There’s no question that she is one of the finest ballerinas appearing in America today; some think her the finest". We had the opportunity to photograph her with PNB's Artistic Director, Peter Boal when they were visting NYC.
Carla Körbes, Principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet
Where did you grow up and how did you get interested in dance? CK: I grew up in São Leopoldo, a small town in the south of Brazil. My parents always loved classical music and singing. So from as far back as I can remember, I loved to listen to them and dance around to their music. By the age of four, I was taking movement/ballet classes. And then when I was 11 years old I saw a Swan Lake performance by a local school in Porto Alegre. The school was called Ballet Vera Bublitz, and besides having great ballet teachers, they were also committed to creating high quality ballet performances in the south of Brazil. They hired Nicolaj Hubbe to dance with their dancers, and that performance was magical to me. Soon after, I managed to attend that school, which was pretty far away from my home, and I made a commitment to myself to do my best to turn my love for ballet into a career. What career would you choose if you could not be a dancer? CK: My other passion in life is helping others in some way or another. I love to learn about the human body and learn different ways one can heal. Whenever I get to help someone in a small way with their bodies or mind, it makes me feel alive and connected to the world. So I think I would enjoy being some kind of doctor or healer practitioner. Another dream I have is to one day start some kind of organization to help a good cause, like preserving the Amazon, or assisting kids and women around the globe. I have ideas about this and after I retire from PNB in June I would love to start working on it. If a child told you they wanted to be a dancer, what would your advice be? CK: I would tell them that dancing is a wonderful thing! If they think they really love it, to the point where all the sacrifice it requires doesn’t really seem like a sacrifice to them, then go ahead and follow your dream. As a dancer myself, I would share with them my glorious and not-so-glorious experiences so they could have an insider’s view of what a dancer’s life is really like behind all the beautiful tiaras and tutus! What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started as a professional dancer? CK: This question comes up a lot in interviews. My usual answer is that I wish I realized sooner that most of my teachers’, coaches’ and directors’ negative comments were meant as a tool to make me a better dancer, and not to crush my confidence and self-esteem. I took a lot of criticizing I received in the wrong way, and didn’t realize they were really meant to be helpful. So I wish I had known that sooner! However, I left my home when I was 15 years old and got a job by the time I was 18, and at that age I was not developed enough to know these things. We live and learn and that’s what is really important in life! Our struggles make us grow as people! Of all the roles you have performed, which role helped you grow the most as an artist? CK: All of them have taught me so much. Everyday I go to the studio I learn something new because I am constantly changing and my art is also constantly evolving with me. All I have done in the past 25 years has really impacted me as an artist. Do you have one moment in your career that you remember most fondly? Or one moment that you feel really defined your career or the trajectory of it? CK: I have milestones for each phase in my life! But a very significant moment for me was to be lucky enough to get to dance with Peter Boal at age 14 in Brazil. That experience defined the next 19 years of my life and allowed me to have a career in the USA. What will you be doing as the “artist in residence” at the Vail International Dance Festival? CK: Damian and I are still elaborating on the program. Stay tuned for another fantastic VIDF! Describe your daily routine. CK: My days can vary dramatically depending on what kind of ballets I am rehearsing at the time. The one certain thing is that five to six days a week I take a ballet class in the morning. After that I usually have rehearsals from noon to 7 pm. On lighter days when I only have a few hours of rehearsal, I like to go home if I can and relax, take a walk around the neighborhood with my dog, and focus on other projects that are not PNB-related. Who would you most like to have a coffee with (could be dead or alive)? CK: My dream would be to be able to have coffee with my entire family once a week! Mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, and my husband and his family. That would be such a wonderful thing! What is your greatest indulgence? CK: Naps, I love to take naps! Sometimes I feel a little guilty that I should be doing something productive with that time. But naps make me so happy! What are your worst fears (professionally or personally)? CK: Life is so unpredictable and I do fear uncertainty: What if I get injured and can’t dance, what if this and that. Lately I have been very aware of how easy it is to live in fear. So I have been working a lot on being comfortable with not knowing the outcome of events. My philosophy is to do my vey best and focus on enjoying what is instead of what I would like it to be. Why are you retiring? CK: I am retiring because it’s the right time. I don’t take it for granted how wonderful it is to be able to be a professional dancer. For me dance has been everything, my love, my fuel for life. But a professional dancer doesn’t get to just dance and be happy. Dancing comes as a whole package, and you must love the whole package to be able to succeed. Although I still love ballet, I no longer love what comes with it most of the time. I don’t want to be in pain and have to dance at a lower level. Or have to rest during sunny days when I could be taking a lovely walk outside. I am ready to experience the world from a different perspective. That does not mean I will never dance again! I just need time to grow in other ways, and then see where life takes me. Is your family coming over for your last show? CK: Yes! Father, mother, sister, brother in law and one of my godfathers! Did you ever have any doubts about being a dancer? CK: No. I really loved dancing from a very young age. I just knew that I wanted to dance and never really thought I wanted to do anything else.
Tutu from Chacott by Freed of London
Hairpiece by Caryn Wells