American Ballet Theatre Soloist Skylar Brandt Talks Candy Crush, "Cheer," and Her Love of Pasta

June 21, 2020

If you want some serious practice-makes-perfect inspiration, look no further than American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt’s Instagram (@skylarbrandt). In between gorgeous shots of the spirited ballerina onstage and goofy outtakes featuring her fellow ABT dancers, you’ll find post after post of Brandt in the studio, drilling the choreography in rehearsal. Now, you can catch her teaching virtual classes for Youth America Grand Prix and other platforms.

Do you have any favorite quotes or mantras?

My grandfather always said “All you have is your time.” I try to live my life by that.

What’s your go-to stress reliever?

Admittedly playing “Candy Crush” or “The Sims,” hanging with friends and family, or watching TV.

What’s your favorite show to binge-watch?

“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Cheer,” and “The Office.”

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A ballerina, duh!

What’s one food you can’t live without?


Do you have any nicknames?

At ABT, people call me “Sk” which also doubles as a sound that’s good for getting people’s attention from across the room. Other nicknames are Sky, Sky-Sky, Ski, Payles (my middle name is Paley), Sky-P, and Strich.

Dance-wise, do you have any bad habits?

Sometimes I don’t get to class early enough to do my Pilates exercises beforehand. That’s really bad.

What’s the strangest thing you have in your dance bag?

I have this little rubber hand puppet that one of my greatest friends, Gabe Stone Shayer, gave me. I actually use it to keep my hairpins in now.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for young performers?

Put in the hard work! It pays off and it is necessary for achieving the highest level of any profession. Life is not about having things handed to you, and even when they are, don’t settle.

A version of this story appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of
Dance Spirit with the title “The Dirt: Skylar Brandt.”