When a ballerina of a certain age and stature — Alessandra Ferri, Kyra Nichols and, most recently, Wendy Whelan — announces her retirement, it’s heartbreaking, but makes sense. When a dancer, just 33, decides to do the same, it’s shattering, especially when that ballerina is Carla Körbes.

A principal dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle and well known in New York as a former soloist with New York City Ballet, Ms. Körbes announced on Thursday that she would retire from Pacific Northwest on June 7, at the end of the 2014-15 season. In a statement, the troupe’s artistic director, Peter Boal, said, “I’ve been in denial about Carla’s insistence that this season be her last,” and added that of her many exquisite moments onstage, “I might be selfish to want more.”

He’s not alone. Ms. Körbes, critically acclaimed throughout her career, is enchanting. Strong yet delicate with a lush musicality and a gracious demeanor, she is a ballerina that comes along once in a lifetime.

After being told during an interview this week that Mr. Boal was quite possibly in denial about her decision, Ms. Körbes couldn’t help herself: She laughed. She’s known Mr. Boal since she was just 14, and he traveled to her ballet school in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to partner her in a performance of “Apollo.” Transfixed by the young dancer, he helped arrange for her to train at the School of American Ballet, affiliated with City Ballet. When he left City Ballet to direct Pacific Northwest in 2005, she followed him there.

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Her reasons for retiring are complicated. After a knee injury in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Tide Harmonic” in May 2013 — she tore her meniscus, and surgery revealed that she had further problems with her patella — Ms. Körbes said that she endured a rough recovery. She said she senses that her body needs something different.

“I go back and forth between feeling like this is the end of my dancing career and just feeling: No, it’s not the end, I just need a change,” Ms. Körbes said. “I have done the company lifestyle for 16 years, and ballet has changed. It is evolving, and we’re being pushed in ways that just doesn’t feel like it’s working for me right now.”

For Ms. Körbes, the varied repertoire at Pacific Northwest has meant switching between classical ballets like “Don Quixote” and contemporary pieces by William Forsythe. It has taken a toll, she said. It is not lost on her that being exposed to more choreographers was a draw in her decision to leave City Ballet. At the same time, Ms. Körbes is tired of feeling, as she put it, that she is “always compensating and just trying to get through a season.” She added, “I don’t want to ‘get through’ a season, so I need to change the way I’m making my art.”

Coincidentally or not, several ballet dancers from her generation have retired recently, including Janie Taylor, a close friend, and Jonathan Stafford, both of City Ballet. It could be a generational shift. “Is it that we’re not so stationary, that we want to get to have another life?” Ms. Körbes asked. “Or is it that we’re just pushing our bodies too much?”

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This fall, she makes two New York appearances. On Sunday, she will perform Balanchine’s “Elégie” as part of a program organized by Damian Woetzel at the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process series, and next month she performs in a new work by Justin Peck when Pacific Northwest appears at the Joyce Theater.

She is not sure if she will continue dancing after her retirement. “If I can do it and find an outlet where I feel I have something to say, then I will,” she said. “But I don’t know what it is yet.”

Where she will end up after June 7, however, is a secret. Ms. Körbes is engaged to the photographer Patrick Fraser, who lives in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. She said she doubts she will remain in Seattle, but said that Mr. Fraser was planning a move, too. “It’s going to be a change,” she said cryptically.

Regarding the trajectory of her career, Ms. Körbes said she wouldn’t change a thing. “I’m happy in the way that I made choices, and I feel like I’m doing it again,” she said firmly. “I’m not going to sit here and just wait for my career to end. I want to do something else. Life is short.”