New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker Debuts 1st Black Lead

Charlotte Nebres Is Making History This Holiday Season

Eleven-year-old Charlotte Nebres has been cast as the lead in New York City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.

What We Know:

  • Charlotte is a student at the School of American Ballet and was hand-picked to star as Marie, the young girl who dreams of a nutcracker that comes to life.
  • This is the production’s first time casting a black dancer in this particular leading role. Charlotte’s mother, who was also a dancer growing up, is from Trinidad and her father’s family is from the Philippines.
  • Charlotte remembers being inspired by watching Misty Copeland perform and her becoming the first African-American principal at American Ballet Theater back in 2015. “I saw her perform and she was just so inspiring and so beautiful,” she told the The New York Times. “When I saw someone who looked like me onstage, I thought, that’s amazing. She was representing me and all the people like me.”

  • In terms of securing the role, Charlotte told the Times, “It is a big deal. But to me, it’s just how I grew up, so it’s not really different to me.”
  • Charlotte says she feels free and empowered when she dances and that it makes her happy.

Charlotte joins a production full of diversity this Christmas season, with dancers ranging from half-Chinese, half-Korean, half-Greek and half-South Asian.




Jessica D. Bullock is a Digital Intern at Black News Alerts.