NYC Ballet Casts Its FIRST Black Lead: Charlotte Nebres!

be the first Black lead for The Nutcracker, Charlotte responded by saying, “Wow. That seems a little late.” No arguments there.

Charlotte attends the School of American Ballet, which is the official school of New York City Ballet. The school has been making efforts to diversify through admissions and casting. Over the past seven years, 62 School of American Ballet students have gone on to become City Ballet apprentices. Of those 62, 21 identify as non-white or mixed. 12 of those dancers identify as Black, 4 being women.

Dena Abergel, the children’s ballet mistress at New York City Ballet, has acknowledged the milestone that has been made by casting Charlotte as Marie. Abergel also made it very clear that Charlotte wasn’t cast as Marie because of her melanin or as part of an initiative for diversity. Charlotte has everything it takes to be the heroine of this classic tale. The Nutcracker is one of the most complex theatrical, staged ballets in the Company’s repertory. So the lead dancers must be well-rounded as actors and technicians.

“When I’m looking for someone who can do Marie, I’m looking for someone primarily who has an ability to act on stage and to convey a story,” said Abergel. “… It has to be someone who can command the stage and who has enough confidence and spontaneity to handle whatever comes her way.”

Although she’s young, Charlotte proves to be an extremely talented and expressive ballerina, especially on stage. Described as an introvert by her ballet mistress, Charlotte wasn’t quite as expressive when she got the news that she’d