Charlotte Nebres Is The First Black Marie In New York City Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’
ERIN BAIANO/NYC BALLET

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, 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.”

Copeland congratulated Nebres by sharing the news of her casting on Instagram.

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.

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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 Kourlas. She sat down with them to discuss the rehearsal process, their lives off-stage, and their roles in the ballet.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ When asked who the Nutcracker Prince is to him, 11-year-old Kai Misra-Stone (pictured at top right) said, "The Prince is this character that develops. In the beginning, he is Drosselmeier’s nephew and then it’s almost as if he transforms into the Nutcracker and then goes back to being the Prince. He comes out of his shell and just opens up and is like: Here I am."⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Thirteen-year-old Tanner Quirk (pictured in the foreground), is the oldest of the four, and has also previously played Marie's bratty brother Fritz in the production. to him, the Nutcracker Prince "is very brave and compassionate especially toward his Marie, which is what I aspire to be like in real life, too."⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ 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 #boysdancetoo #balletdancer #dancelife #balletlife #instaballet #dancers #choreography #balanchine #nycb #nycballet #newyorkcityballet #newyorkcity #linkinbio

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“It just feels like when I dance, I feel free and I feel empowered. I feel like I can do anything when I dance,” she told the New York Times. “It makes me happy, and I’m going to do what makes me happy.”

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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