Skylar Brandt - It's Easy to Pose for a Picture on Social Media but the Real Payoff Comes From the Dedication to the Art Form in the Studio and Onstage (Ballerina Artist)

Skylar Brandt

Skylar Brandt was born in Purchase, New York and began her training at the age of six at Scarsdale Ballet Studio. She attended the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre from 2005-2009. Brandt was a silver medalist at Youth America Grand Prix in 2004 and 2008.

Brandt was awarded a 2013 Princess Grace Foundation-USA Dance Fellowship. That same year, she was featured in the movie “Ballet’s Greatest Hits”. In 2018, Brandt was the recipient of an unprecedented Special Jury Award for her performances on the Russian television show “Big Ballet”.

1. Tell us about your Background and Journey.

I began dancing when I was about five years old, and truth be told, I found it boring. It was only at the age of eight that I decided I wanted to become a professional ballerina. 

After watching several ABT performances, I realized that having a job where adults played dress up and told stories sounded like the perfect occupation! I soon discovered how challenging ballet was, but that fed my desires and goals all the more, as I have always enjoyed a good challenge.

2. How would you describe Ballet?

To me, Ballet is one of the most fulfilling and powerful forms of Self Expression. Even though we typically do not use our voices in dance, so much can still be said. 

Skylar Brandt

3. What is your Daily Routine like?

Despite the pandemic, I have been able to maintain a full schedule. I warm up with a Ballet class from my living room, and then I go to the studio with my coaches. After a few hours of rehearsal, I will come home and give private lessons via Zoom or FaceTime. 

In a non-covid world, I would be rehearsing with American Ballet Theatre, preparing for tours and performances. During our most intense season at the Metropolitan Opera House, I would be dancing from ten in the morning until ten or eleven o'clock at night with eight shows per week.

4. Which is your most Memorable Performance? Why?

My most memorable performance was premiering Giselle in February of 2020. I had worked on the ballet for many months and I had put so much of my physical and emotional energy into researching and rehearsing the role. I ended up making my debut a few days early by filling in for an injured dancer. 

It was exhilarating, as I had not danced or rehearsed with the injured dancer's partner before. This made the performance all the more spontaneous and alive, as if I was experiencing the steps and emotions with my partner for the very first time.

5. Which changes do you wish to have in your Industry?

I hope to see more learning opportunities for young and underprivileged children. There is so much raw, undiscovered talent out there, and due to limited resources, it can be difficult for this talent to pursue Ballet. 

It would be amazing to see the cultivation and growth of these gifted children so that there is a greater chance for equality and diversity in the Ballet world. 

6. Which Ballet Dancer inspires you the most and Why?

I grew up watching all of the most incredible dancers at American Ballet Theatre. Among them were Irina Dvorovenko, Angel Corella, Nina Ananiashvili and Marcelo Gomes. It is hard to choose just one favorite, but the quality I recognized in all of them was their ability to tell a story and move me emotionally. 

7. What tips and advice would you give to aspiring Ballet Dancers?

In a generation of instant gratification and low attention spans, it's imperative to realize the importance of putting in the hard work.

It's easy to pose for a picture on social media but the real payoff comes from the dedication to the art form in the studio and onstage. Patience is key! Life is not about having things handed to you and even if they are, don't settle! Also, don't forget to have fun ;)

8. Which is your favorite  Book and Why?

It is difficult to choose just one, but an absolute favorite of mine is "Flowers For Algernon" by Daniel Keyes. 

I don't read fiction anymore, but after reading this book in school, it remains a favorite. It is the sort of book that makes you think about life and morality in different ways and tugs on your heartstrings all the while. 

Skylar Brandt

Interviewed By - Serene Ingle

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