Kansas City Ballet Taps Black Ballerina For Leading 'Nutcracker' Role For The First Time

Whitney Huell is only the second Black ballerina with the company.

Photo Credit: KHSB 41 Screenshot

| December 03 2018,

3:24 pm

This Christmas season, The Nutcracker is getting a new look, courtesy of some #blackgirlmagic. The famous two-act ballet is an adaption of E. T. A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The holiday favorite shares the story of a girl’s Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, that comes alive to battle the Mouse King. This year, the Kansas City Ballet will feature Whitney Huell as the sugar plum fairy, making her the Ballet’s first Black ballerina in a leading role.

The dancer told KHSB 41 that she has been dancing in The Nutcracker most of her life, but this opportunity is particularly special.

"I think that it will show young dancers of color that they can do anything," Huell said.

Devon Carney, the ballet's artistic director, shared his excitement about the dancer’s new role that is “finally” happening.

"Am I excited about that? Am I proud of that? Absolutely. I couldn't imagine a better opportunity than to have the chance to be artistic director and see this come to life, finally, here for Kansas City Ballet,” he shared. “It's a very important moment for all of us."

According to the Kansas City Star, the 26-year-old joined the KC Ballet in 2014 as the company's second Black ballerina ever hired. Last year, she danced in The Nutcracker as the Snow Queen.

Huell is following in the footsteps of fellow Kansas native Misty Copeland who became the American Ballet Theatre's first African-American principal dancer in 2015. Copeland recently starred in a film adaption of the ballet titled The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

KC Ballet's The Nutcracker opened November 30 and will continue until December 23.


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