PROVO When 10,000 spectators gather this week at Brigham Young University for the U.S. National Amateur DanceSport Championships, a pair of 12-year-old kids will be ready to go toe-to-toe with the competition.
Landon Anderson from Springville and Vashti Reed from Provo took a first in Youth Predance Standard in November's DanceSport competition.
Kim DelGrosso, the owner of Center Stage Performing Arts Studio where they train, expects great things from them this year.
"They are really someone to watch. They are beautiful little dancers," said DelGrosso. "They just came back from the California Open in Irvine where they took fourth overall in a very large competition."
"These kids are multifaceted. They do jazz, ballet, ballroom. They dance four to six hours a day. They compete in three divisions, and they usually place in the top six. They are national champions in American Rhythm," said Anderson's mother. "Their Latin and rhythm has been a little stronger, but they are catching up quickly in standard."
Reed says she and Anderson are a good fit. They've been partners for three years.
They both take their dancing seriously and are willing to work very hard.
"He's a great partner," said Reed, who started in ballet and jazz at age 4 and ballroom dance at age 8. "We're really good friends. We like to hang out."
Anderson says Reed is a good follower, which is crucial.
"I have to follow him. If he messes up, I have to follow him. If I mess up, I still have to follow him," she said.
Watching the two dance together is mesmerizing.
They turn, swap, travel and dip as one.
Their dance posture is picture-perfect and they enjoy the moment.
"Posture definitely counts. It's one of the main things judges look at," said Reed, "along with technique, presentation and connections, like hand movements."
"I love to dance. I just love it all," said Anderson. "It's really fun."
He's been dancing since he was 2 and wouldn't mind being on a show such as "Dancing With the Stars" someday.
He'd like to be a professional dancer like his big brother, Ryan.
He once matter-of-factly told his mom he intended to be famous one day.
In the meantime, he and Reed have a lot to do and it takes a toll.
They have hours of rehearsal and practice each week, planes to catch and deadlines to meet.
Reed has to worry about hair, makeup, heels and different, expensive costumes for each event. Anderson who is very pale-skinned has to put on bronzer and spiff up his tuxedo, his Latin costume and his shiny, black dance shoes.
They both have to focus on their dancing while keeping up their schoolwork and fitting in some fun.
They compete in Latin, rhythm and standard doing everything from the fox trot, the cha-cha, the swing, the mambo, the rumba, the jive, the tango, the samba, the quick step and a selection of waltzes.
"I like the waltz a lot," said Reed, "particularly the Viennese waltz. I can relax in standard except for the tango."
Anderson is hoping they can knock off a team that used to train at Center Stage."They usually place higher than us. They're older than us," he said. "If we can beat them, it proves something."
If you go...
What: U.S. National Amateur DanceSport Championships
Where: Marriott Center, Brigham Young University
Cost: $12-$16 single events; see Web site for specifics