Getty Images | Timothy A. Clary

11-Year-Old Ballerina Cast As First Black Lead In NYC Ballet's 'The Nutcracker'

An 11-year-old ballerina has danced her way into history after becoming the very first black Marie to lead the cast in New York City Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker", The New York Times reported.

Charlotte Nebres, a student at the School of American Ballet, will star as the young heroine in the show which first premiered back in 1954.

Nebres was just 6 years old when Misty Copeland became the first female African-American principal at the American Ballet Theater.

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It's a moment the young ballerina has never forgotten, and one that she has carried with her into her professional dance career.

"I saw her perform and she was just so inspiring and so beautiful," Nebres told NY Times. "When I saw someone who looked like me onstage, I thought, that's amazing. She was representing me and all the people like me."

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Now, the youngster has made history herself after being cast as the first black Marie in the history of NYC Ballet's "Nutcracker."

This achievement has only reaffirmed her belief that nothing can hold her back.

When she found out she would be the first black Marie, Nebres' mother said her daughter's response was, "Wow. That seems a little late."

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Nebres' mother's family is from Trinidad, and her father's side hails from the Philippines.

She joins a cast of other diverse young leads, including her Prince, played by Tanner Quirk, who is half-Chinese, and the alternate version of Marie, Sophia Thomopoulos, who is half-Korean and half-Greek.

Her Prince will be played by Kai Misra-Stone, a half-South Asian ballet dancer.

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NYC Ballet said this year's cast is a reflection of the "tremendous" effort made by the School of American Ballet to diversify its student population.

Giphy | New York City Ballet

In an interview with CNN, NYC Ballet children's ballet master, Dena Abergel, said she didn't consciously choose dancers of color to lead this year's performance.

"Because I have the diversity of students the pool to choose from that is diverse, some of those students will end up being the leads and it just happened to work out with my even realizing it that all four were of some mixed diversity," she said. "And that's just mirroring what's happening in New York City and around the world."

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Nebres' debut as Marie is incredibly meaningful, particularly to her own mother who was a dancer herself.

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She told NY Times that her daughter, who is quiet and artistic, emerged from her "Nutcracker" audition and gave nothing away emotionally.

"With that poker face of hers, she said, 'Well, I'm Marie,'" her mom said. "And I just thought, oh my goodness — they really did it. I couldn't believe it."

"The Nutcracker" has already begun performances and will run through to January 5.

h/t: New York Times, CNN

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