Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB

We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.

Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.

We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.

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ABT's Devon Teuscher and James Whiteside as Jane and Rochester in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Patrick Fraser, Courtesy ABT.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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What is it that makes certain performers magnetic?

This past weekend I saw Pacific Northwest Ballet perform at the Joyce here in New York City. I was taken aback by the bevy of beautiful bodies onstage. Almost every female dancer had exquisitely long limbs, ideal ballet proportions, feet to die for and even model-worthy facial features. They were Ballerina Barbie come to life—if Ballerina Barbie had been designed by George Balanchine.

And then there was soloist Rachel Foster. She was a few inches shorter than the other dancers in both of the pieces I saw her in (Twyla Tharp's Opus 111 and Benjamin Millepied's 3 Movements). And while she's thin, instead of a delicate, lithe silhouette, she sports an athletic, muscle-y build. She does not have what most pre-professional ballet students think of as "the perfect ballet body."

But she was breathtaking. Every time she moved, it felt like she was literally speaking to the audience. You could almost hear a raspy voice as she powered through Tharp's jaunty choreography. Even when her arms sometimes landed in awkward positions, they looked completely real. They were in that less-than-elegant place because her body was doing something more important than hitting positions: it was really dancing. And it was fantastic.

She's got chutzpah, and it vibrates out into the audience. Every time Rachel left the stage I couldn't wait until she came back on, and when she did, I barely saw anyone else up there because I was so entranced by her movement.

Although sky-high developpés and triple pirouettes are nice, when you get onstage, the audience never notices 180-degree turnout. In fact, if you're really moving, audiences can never even tell if you have 180-degree turnout or not. What they do notice, however, is spirit. And even beautiful bodies can't distract them from the girl with the spark.

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