Charlotte Nebres was only six when acclaimed dancer Misty Copeland became American Ballet Theatre’s first female African-American principal. Now Nebres is making dance history too! The 11-year-old was recently cast as the first African-American Marie in New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker.

Nebres, who is a student at the School of American Ballet, is part of a larger cultural shift going on at the New York City Ballet. Not only is the 11-year-old breaking barriers, but the Ballet has also cast half-Chinese Tanner Quirk as Marie’s Prince, half-Korean/half-Greek Sophia Thomopoulos as the other Marie (the children’s roles are double-cast) and half-South Asian Kai Misra-Stone as the other Prince.

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IN THE NEWS // The four School of American Ballet @sab_nyc 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 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 #schoolofamericanballet

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The young dancer recently spoke to the New York Times, talking about the first time she saw Copland perform, “When I saw someone who looked like me onstage, I thought, that’s amazing. She was representing me and all the people like me.”

Charlotte’s mother opened up to the New York Times, about her daughter’s reaction after the audition, “With that poker face of hers, she said, ‘Well, I’m Marie,’ And I just thought, oh my goodness— they really did it. I couldn’t believe it.”

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IN THE NEWS // The four @sab_nyc 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 #schoolofamericanballet

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Ms. Nebres also talked about her daughter’s response to finding out that she is the first African-American child cast in the role of Marie. According to the proud mom, the 11-year-old said, “Wow. That seems a little late.”

—Erica Loop

Featured photo: New York City Ballet via Instagram 

 

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