Carlton sophomore Abrianna Schmidt has been dancing since she was 2 years old, and on Sunday, Sept. 5, she had an opportunity to sing and tap dance for one of her biggest audiences yet at the Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest.
Schmidt was just one of 26 performers in the final round of competition at the Grandstand.
"I'm definitely nervous, but I like to think that nervousness and excitement are the same emotion," she said in an interview before the competition. "It's just how you look at it. I'd say I'm more excited than nervous."
The Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest has been a traditional part of the fair for 48 years. Approximately 400 performers audition for the contest in late July in either the open, teen or preteen division. About 120 semifinalists compete for a chance to perform in the final round. This was Schmidt's second time competing at the State Fair. Three years ago she made it to the semifinal round.
Schmidt sang and tap danced to the Bjork song "It's Oh So Quiet." She started working on her talent early in the year and said she's glad to be able to perform without a mask these days.
"It's definitely more fun to perform without a mask on. That was definitely more of a challenge," she said.
Since she's been dancing for most of her life, Schmidt dances in many different styles. She's done ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, technique and lyrical dance. She competes with dance studio 218 Dance Project throughout the year.
While she's been dancing for a long time, Schmidt first added singing into her performances when she was 9 years old.
"My dance teacher Matthew Wagner convinced me to do a song and dance solo," she said. "I was a little hesitant, but he really got me into singing and acting. I've loved performing ever since."
To build up the stamina to sing and dance simultaneously, Schmidt said she'll go for runs or exercise while singing so that it's easier to do when performing.
"And because you've done all this practice, in the moment, when you're up on stage doing it, the hard aspect of it goes away," she said. "Being up there in the moment feels amazing."
Unfortunately, Schmidt didn't earn a spot in the final three at the competition, but she did what her father said she set out to do — spread joy.
"She likes bringing joy to other people through her performances," Ryan Schmidt said. "The week before, as we were leaving, a lot of people thanked her for her performance. I feel so proud of her."