TSR Black Excellence: For the first time in history, the famous New York City Ballet cast its first black lead ballerina in its widely popular production of the Nutcracker.

Trust us when we say this is a big deal! People come from all over the world to New York to watch the ballet’s annual production of “George Blanchine’s The Nutcracker,” which premiered in 1954.

This season, the leading role of the young heroine Marie is being played by 11-year-old Charlotte Nebres, CNN reports. And lil sis, who cites famous ballerina Misty Copeland as one of her role models, has a lot of confidence. When her mother Danielle Nebres told her she was going to be the first black Marie, the New York Times reported, she simply responded: “Wow. That seems a little late.” 

But she’s not lying. Dena Abergel, children’s ballet master at New York City Ballet, acknowledged that the casting decision was a significant milestone in the ballet’s history. But Abergel said Charlotte wasn’t cast because of the color of her skin or as part of a diversity initiative.

Charlotte simply had everything she was looking for in the character of Marie. 

“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.”

Charlotte has been a student of Abergel’s at the School of American Ballet, a feeder school for New York City Ballet. And Charlotte had also performed with the ballet company in last year’s Nutcracker and a production of Sleeping Beauty.

Charlotte blew people away when it came time to cast for this season’s production of the Nutcracker.

Abergel says sometimes when she tells young dancers that they have a role, they jump up and down and scream excitedly, but Charlotte was apparently a little bit harder to read.

“With that poker face of hers, she said, ‘Well, I’m Marie,'” Nebres told The New York Times. “And I just thought, oh my goodness — they really did it. I couldn’t believe it.”

We’re proud of this little sister and hope that she inspires other young children who look like her to achieve their dreams. Stay here for the latest, Roommates!