How has your experience of leaving the
super-structured life of a PNB principal treated
you? Have you enjoyed that uncertainty, or do
you find yourself gravitating toward more-structured projects?
The certainty at PNB was attractive: You have very
specific schedules, you know what you’re getting
paid. But I needed a change from the regularity
of so many different programs in a performing
season. I was stuck in a schedule that was hard on
my body. Now, I teach, coach and perform. I am
making my own structure, and the flexibility allows
me to juggle much better being a working mom.
What attracted you to LADP?
The year I was retiring, I saw longtime friend and
dance partner James Fayette after a performance
in Los Angeles. I told him that I was trying to figure out what to do, and I soon got a call from Ben.
It felt like a perfect opportunity. My husband lives
in L.A.—and now it’s my home.
Your role as associate artistic director has involved teaching at LADP and its affiliated
school, The Colburn Dance Academy, coaching and dancing. What do you enjoy most
about your work?
Most appealing to me is the group of dancers.
They are young, and have a vocabulary different
than what I am used to. Dancing for me is about
awareness and involvement, and it’s what I work
on with the dancers. They’re responsive—and
hungry to grow as artists. Plus, I like being in an
environment that’s small enough so as not to be
overwhelming. Directing a large company would
be a huge commitment! I’m fortunate that I can
still dance. I do some guesting, but I also am
excited about dancing here in L.A.—my situation
feels like a little piece of heaven.
What are some of the memorable guest perfor-
mances you’ve done recently?
At the Kennedy Center in DC, I shared the stage
with so many different artists, like Damian Woetzel
and Heather Watts—it was thrilling. For Vail Dance
Festival’s New York City performances, I got
another chance to take two masterpieces, Martha
Graham’s Lamentation and Balanchine’s Élégie,
and develop new interpretations.
What’s next for you?
We shall see. I love being a mama, and since the baby
was born, I have chosen to stay home rather than go
on tour with the dancers. Still, being onstage for me is
magical. I’ve traveled to Vail and NYC to perform, but
those are shorter trips than going on a three-month
tour of France! I thought I couldn’t retire from a big
company if I didn’t know what the next thing would
be, but I’m okay with the uncertainty. The dances I do
now are really like a meditation for me. n
news | 10 MINUTES WITH...
It’s been a year and a half since Carla Körbes
retired from Pacific Northwest Ballet. In that
time, Körbes has marked several life passages: a
move to Los Angeles, a sumptuous wedding to
photographer Patrick Fraser and the birth of their
son, Rafael. She also became the associate artistic
director of Los Angeles Dance Project at the invitation of Benjamin Millepied, who tasked her with
helping to execute his artistic vision at LADP while
he was also director of dance at the Paris Opéra
Ballet. She returned to dancing last year as a
guest artist in Vail, Washington, DC, and New York
City, and marked her first appearance onstage
with LADP in December, performing Christopher
Wheeldon’s After the Rain with company member
The beloved ballerina
talks about her new life
in Los Angeles.
BY GIGI BERARDI
Körbes performs with Jared
Angle at the 2016 Vail
International Dance Festival.