Source: Instagram/nycballet

Charlotte Nebres, 11, Makes History as 1st Black Ballerina to Be Cast in Lead Role in NYC Ballet's 'The Nutcracker'

Joe Akins
Dec 09, 2019
01:20 A.M.
Share this pen

Charlotte Nebres has changed the course of history with her latest achievement as the very first black to be cast in the leading role of "Marie" in George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker."


The young heroine, Charlotte Nebres, is making waves and breaking grounds in the industry as she has managed to dance her way up to becoming the first black lead in a show which dates back to February 2, 1954.


The show has always cast whites as lead characters, but today there has been a turn in events. The production has not only cast a brown-skinned ballerina in the leading role of Marie; this brown-skinned ballerina is just 11 years old!

After the auditions, Charlotte broke the news to her mother, Danielle, and according to Danielle, Charlotte, with a poker face, said: "well, I'm Marie."

A live stage performance of The Nutcracker in Moscow | Getty Images


Danielle couldn't believe it. She said when she told Charlotte that she was the first black to be cast in the role, her response was, "Wow, that seems a little late."

Charlotte is excited about her new role as Marie and especially as the first-ever black Marie in "The Nutcracker." Just like Marie, other lead roles are being portrayed by people of color.


To Charlotte, it's an opportunity to represent different cultures and enable young children in the audience to relate as they watch the show. In an interview with the New York Times, she said:

"It's pretty amazing to be not only representing S.A.B., but also representing all of our cultures."

Charlotte's enthusiasm and drive started at a very young age. In an interview with the New York Times, she revealed that at the age of six, she was inspired by another groundbreaking ballerina, Misty Copeland, who rose to the position of the first female African American principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater's 75-year history.


She said:

"When I saw someone who looked like me on stage, I thought, that's amazing. She was representing me and all the people like me."

For her mom, Danielle, Charlotte's achievement means a lot because she was also a dancer growing up. Charlotte is the second child of three, and according to her mom, she is the quiet and artistic one as she likes to sing and draw.

Danielle never knew her daughter was so theatrical until last year when Charlotte got the role of the little red riding hood in The Sleeping beauty.

She said when she found out; she thought for sure that they had picked the wrong kid to play the role until she watched her perform, and then it dawned on her that she is the one that doesn't know her kid.