For any young dancer performing in The Nutcracker, Marie (aka Clara, depending on the production) is a dream role. But Charlotte Nebres, who will be playing Marie in New York City Ballet's Nutcracker this year isn't just bringing her own dream to life—she's also making history.
Charlotte is the first black dancer to ever perform the role of Marie in NYCB's production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, which dates all the way back to 1954. Charlotte was, of course, hugely excited to perform the role of Marie, but, according to the New York Times, when her mother told her that she was the first black dancer cast in the role, she said "Wow. That seems a little late."
In fact, the lead children's cast of NYCB's production is remarkably diverse this year. Marie is also played by Sophia Thomopoulos, who is half-Korean, half-Greek, and the two Nutcracker princes are played by Tanner Quirk, who is half-Chinese, and Kai Misra-Stone, who is half-South Asian.Charlotte told the NYT she's especially excited about the impact her dancing could have. "There might be a little boy or girl in the audience seeing that and saying, hey, I can do that, too," says Charlotte.