A professional ballet dancer reveals the best way to deal with nerves

The INSIDER Summary:

• Skylar Brandt is a ballet soloist and has been dancing for 17 years.

• She still gets nervous before performances, but she views nerves as a positive.

• Her key to nerves is embracing them as something that will help you.

Skylar Brandt has been practicing ballet since she was six years old.

She’s now 23, and a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre.

But just because she’s been dancing for 17 years doesn’t mean she’s immune to nerves before a big performance.

However, she has learned to embrace them, and accepts them as something that’s simply part of a being a performer — and something that can actually work in her favour and help her perform better.

“I try to let the nerves — when I have them — help me, versus freak me out. I know that I’ll be fine once I get on stage and that the adrenaline will help me and make things better. So I try to look at nerves as more of a positive thing, and treat them as something that I should accept rather than try to fight them.”

Brandt also says that feeling nervous depends on how much time you have on your hands to work up nerves, which is probably why ABT dancers practice right up until a performance.

Even when Brandt is on stage, she doesn’t focus on the fact that she’s dancing in front of a large crowd of people.

“I’m not necessarily performing for the audience as much as I’m going through an experience and the audience is observing it. You just feel like you’re in your own world and you’re going on a journey and there are people there to watch it.”

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