MADISON, N.J. — The annual performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is a long-standing tradition for the New York City Ballet.
Despite being nearly 70 years since it’s premiere, it was just two years ago it achieved a significant milestone — casting a then-11 year old Charlotte Nebres from New Jersey in the role of the heroine “Marie.” It marked the first time a Black dancer took on the role.
“When I was performing it and I got to see the kids in the audience … it was just so great,” Nebres told PIX11 News.
That moment — the now 13 year old quickly realized — was bigger than her and an experience she wanted to share with others.
The dancer now adds the title of author to her resume with her new book “Charlotte and The Nutcracker: The True Story of a Girl Who Made Ballet History,” where she chronicles her journey to Lincoln Center and how she broke barriers in the process.
“That was my goal: to have kids get to enjoy it and just be able to read it and see themselves or see someone they could look up to,” she said.
From the moment she gives her parents the good news, to taking the stage — the illustrated book captures it all.
Charlotte is now setting her sights on making a bigger impact with the “little diverse library” she created with her sister, Libby, in their hometown of Madison. The library is stocked up with books written by and about people of color.
“We made it not just for children of color, but for all kids and adults to just to see representation,” she said.
With so much already on her plate, Nebres told PIX11 News she’s just getting started.
She plans on expanding her little diverse library to underserved cities across New Jersey. It’s something she hopes to get done in the new year.