We want to thank you for your support of Dance Network over the past several years. It has been our mission to bring you the best dance content, breaking news and live events on the internet. We had the pleasure of working with some of the best and brightest dancers and choreographers from around the world of dance. Every day we lived our promise that Dance Network was “created by dancers, for dancers”. Despite our best efforts and your tremendous support, we could not meet the goals that we had set for ourselves. This has led us to make the difficult decision to discontinue Dance Network. Coming to this decision was very emotional and disappointing, but one that we could not avoid. The website will continue to be operational until April 30, 2020. We have grown together with you as part of the global dance family. Dance is a universal language and one that we will continue to embrace. Our devotion to dance will not waver and we hope your passion for dance will continue for years to come. Thank you again! This has been an incredible journey and one that we will never forget.


Charlotte Nebres is the First African American Lead in New York City Ballet's 'The Nutcracker'

by Bridget Conrad | 12/11/2019 3:58 PM

Photo Credit: Danielle Nebres (@dnebres on Instagram)

Charlotte Nebres was just 6-years-old when Misty Copeland became the first female African American principal at the American Ballet Theater, but she still remembers being extremely inspired by Copeland for representing people like her in the ballet world. Little did Nebres know that just five short years later she would be part of another significant ballet milestone. This year, at 11-years-old, Nebres, a student at the School of American Ballet (S.A.B.), was cast as the first African American lead in New York City Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker,’ which also includes one of the most diverse casts in the history of this NYC Ballet production.

More: Vince Horiuchi Brings the Art of Breaking to Students in Underserved LA Communities

Since her casting, Nebres has been the topic of many news stories, but it was the New York Times who spoke to her first to find out how she felt about dancing the lead role of 'Marie' among such a diverse group of dancers. “It’s pretty amazing to be not only representing S.A.B., but also representing all of our cultures. There might be a little boy or girl in the audience saying, ‘Hey, I can do that too,' said Nebres to the New York Times. In addition to Nebres, this year's New York City Ballet production includes a cast of other young leads including Tanner Quirk, Nebres's prince in the ballet who is half-Chinese; Sophia Thomopoulos, the ballet’s second casting of 'Marie' who’s half-Korean and half-Greek; and Kai Misra-Stone, Thomopoulos's prince, who is half-South Asian.


A native of Madison, New Jersey, Nebres is one of three children whose mother is from Trinidad and father comes from the Philippines. Her mother, Danielle, was also a dancer growing up and describes her daughter as quiet but a true artist.

It's no surprise that Nebres draws a lot of her dance inspiration from the incomparable Misty Copeland. From the first moment she saw Copeland on stage, it showed her that hard work could really lead her to living out her dream of one day becoming a professional dancer. “I saw her perform and she was just so inspiring and beautiful. When I saw someone who looked like me on stage, I thought, ‘That’s amazing!’ She was representing me and all people like me,” Nebres told the New York Times.

More: Ballethnic Dance Company Celebrates 30 Years of Promoting Social Change Through Dance

Photo Credit: Danielle Nebres (@dnebres on Instagram)

Dena Abergel, children’s ballet master at the New York City Ballet, agreed that casting Nebres was a significant milestone, but stated that she was cast based on her talent, not because of her skin color or as part of a diversity initiative. Abergel knew Nebres well as one of her students and recognized that the stage makes Nebres come alive! Previously, Nebres was cast in last year’s production of ‘The Nutcracker’ and a production of 'Sleeping Beauty.'

One of the most interesting facts of Nebres’s barrier-breaking achievement though is just how long ‘The Nutcracker’ ballet has been in existence. The first production of this ballet actually dates back to February 2, 1954 when George Balanchine put his own spin on E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 dark fairy tale after dancing in Marius Petipa’s adaptation of it in 1919 when he was 15-years-old.

More: How Misty Copeland Inspired Alison Stroming to Start Her Own Mentorship Program

The 2019 New York City Ballet’s production of ‘The Nutcracker’ features the ballet’s entire roster of more than 150 dancers and musicians, as well as more than 125 children, in two alternating casts, from the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. The show runs through January 5 at Lincoln Center in New York City. Visit NYCBallet.com for tickets.


Keep Reading

More From Bridget Conrad

CLI Studios Encourages Local Dance Studios to Stay Strong and #KeepDancing Stayin Alive Crew Provides People Over the Age of 50 with an Outlet to Dance 'The Funny Dance Show' Premiere: Who Let the Dance Out? ‘The Funny Dance Show’ Brings Comedy and Dance Together for a Good Cause FAM Pediatric Cancer Patients and Diddy Dance Together on Ellen Creator of the ‘Renegade’ Jalaiah Harmon Finally Got the Credit She Deserves Fatima Robinson Invites Audiences to Spend 'An Evening with Whitney' Rosalia and Charm La’Donna are a Match Made in Flamenco Heaven
We want to thank you for your support of Dance Network over the past several years. It has been our mission to bring you the best dance content, breaking news and live events on the internet. We had the pleasure of working with some of the best and brightest dancers and choreographers from around the world of dance. Every day we lived our promise that Dance Network was “created by dancers, for dancers”. Despite our best efforts and your tremendous support, we could not meet the goals that we had set for ourselves. This has led us to make the difficult decision to discontinue Dance Network. Coming to this decision was very emotional and disappointing, but one that we could not avoid. The website will continue to be operational until April 30, 2020. We have grown together with you as part of the global dance family. Dance is a universal language and one that we will continue to embrace. Our devotion to dance will not waver and we hope your passion for dance will continue for years to come. Thank you again! This has been an incredible journey and one that we will never forget.