When Skylar Brandt was eight-years-old, she knew she wanted to become a professional ballerina.
While some children are on play dates and watching television, Brandt was working toward her career aspiration of being a principal dancer, the highest ranked dancer in a dance company.
“I was pretty young, generally speaking, but it had to be that way if I wanted to be a dancer because it is hard to start late,” said Brandt.
Training to become a ballerina wasn’t always fun; Brandt had to make some sacrifices in order to continue her passion. “Sometimes I couldn’t go to a sleepover or would be exempted from gym so I could do my homework because I had to go to ballet afterwards,” said Brandt.
Brandt fell in love with ballet when her mother took her and her two sisters to an American Ballet Theatre performance. She adored the story, dancers and costumes—she thought it was the most amazing thing she’d ever seen.
Watching this performance inspired her to want to be a dancer for ABT. At age 12 her dreams began to come true, Brandt auditioned for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre and continued there from 2005 to 2009. After four years, Brandt moved up to ABT II, a company for younger dancers. At the time, there were only 12 dancers in the company, and Brandt was fortunate enough to be one of them.
In November 2010, 17-year-old Brandt was asked to become an apprentice with the main Company and joined the corps de ballet in June 2011.
“The hard work paid off and I am working where I’ve always hoped to be,” said Brandt. “I feel so passionate to have my work be what I love, it’s a blessing."
Brandt recently returned from touring in Asia with ABT. Even though she has only experienced a few tours with the company she said she, “loves to travel anywhere there is a love for the art form”.
Currently living in New York City, the Harrison native loves coming back to her roots. “[Coming back to Harrison] is so healing,” said Brandt. “I get the best of both worlds, Harrison provides a balance for the crazy life of being a dancer and then I get to go home and see my dogs and childhood friends.”
When asked about what advice she would give to aspiring ballerinas, Brandt said “never lose sight of why you started dancing in the first place…it is so important to be a person first and a dancer second.”