11-Year-Old Charlotte Nebres Makes History as the First Black Ballerina to Play in the Holiday Classic, The Nutcracker

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According to Essence.com, 11-year old Charlotte Nebres has made history in the New York City Ballet production of The Nutcracker. The 11-year-old is the first Black ballerina to play Marie in the George Balanchine version of the Ballet’s production since it launched in 1954.

Nebres who is a student at the School of American Ballet, is one of two ballerinas alternating the role, with The New York Times noting that the lead roles of Marie and the Nutcracker Prince are usually double cast.

The young ballerina, whose mother is from Trinidad and whose father is from the Philippines, told the publication that it was Misty Copeland who inspired her to pursue ballet.

“I saw her perform and she was just so inspiring and so beautiful,” she said. “When I saw someone who looked like me onstage, I thought, that’s amazing. She was representing me and all the people like me.”


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11-Year-Old Ballerina Charlotte Nebres Makes History as First Black Lead in NYC Ballet’s The Nutcracker @nycballet ・・・ IN THE NEWS // The four children who alternate the roles of Marie and the Nutcracker Prince were recently profiled in The New York Times by Gia Korlas. She sat down with them to discuss the rehearsal process, their lives off-stage, and their roles in the ballet.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ When asked about why ballet is important to her now, in this moment, 11 year-old Charlotte Nebres, pictured here in rehearsal for her role as Marie, said:⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ “To me, it just feels like when I dance I feel free and I feel empowered. I feel like I can do anything when I dance. It makes me happy, and I’m going to do what makes me happy. You don’t need to think about anything else.”⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Photo: Heather Sten @heathersten for The New York Times @nytimes⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ See these very young dancers, who are the heart of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, now on stage through JAN 5. Tap the link in bio for tickets and more information.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #nutcracker #nycbnutcracker #thenutcracker #nutcrackerballet #holidayseason #georgebalanchinesthenutcracker #ballet #dance #balletdancer #dancelife #balletlife #instaballet #dancers #choreography #balanchine #nycb #nycballet #newyorkcityballet #newyorkcity #linkinbio

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And the importance of the moment isn’t lost on Nebres or her mother, who recognizes that she’s fortunate to have grown up “in a time when it wasn’t just like, oh yeah I can do this, but not do this. There was nothing holding you back.”

The young ballerina is just happy to be able to do what she does best: dance.

The New York City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker will run through January 5. Tickets can be purchased at on their website.

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