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Lead in Florida Ballet’s Nutcracker brings diversity center stage

‘I really want more people that look like me on the stage,’ says dancer LeeAnanca Moore

LeeAnanca Moore is making sure diversity is front and center during this year's run.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Ballet’s Nutcracker will hit stages across the River City in less than three weeks.

This year, the show’s lead performer will be part of history.

LeeAnanca Moore will be the first Black woman to play the lead in the Florida Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker in at least a decade. Moore is making sure diversity is front and center during this year’s run.

“Especially when you’re on the stage and like the lights are in your face and you just hear the crowd, it’s like freeing almost,” Moore said.

Moore is 16 and has performed in nearly 120 dance productions. She started dancing when she was just 10 years old.

She said representation is one of the many things that fuels her passion to hit the stage.

“I saw all the dancers who kind of looked like me and all the dancers that didn’t. And I really want more people that look like me on the stage, so it really kind of pushed me to get more into dance and my craft,” said Moore.

Standing on the shoulders of those who paved the way -- Moore said dance’s history of segregation and racism will make her role impactful on and off the stage.

“One of my favorite dancers, like one of the first ballerinas was Janet Collins. She was given roles but was told that she couldn’t go on stage because of segregation and racism. They told her the only way they could was if she did white face. So, it’s very important for me to look how I am, wear my natural hair, and say that you can still do it with my hair, my skin color, etc,” said Moore.

Pushing diversity front and center in hopes that other women of color continue to defy the odds.

Moore and the crew have been practicing weekly since early September to prepare for this year’s show.

It will run for two weekends in December, the 10th - 12th and 17th - 19th.

You can find more information about where and how to purchase tickets: https://floridaballet.org/

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