Teen Dance Pair Takes a Fine Step
Byline: Jeff Wright The Register-Guard
Remember that hoary teenage dread of trying to learn to slow-dance?
Chloe Potter and Brendan Albano have no idea. Potter, only 13, and Albano, 16, glide across a dance floor with the exuberance and studied ease of seasoned professionals.
In fact, the two only started dancing together last November - after Potter's parents published fliers and sent out e-mail missives seeking a partner for their dance-crazy daughter. Albano answered the call, and the pair began training together under the tutelage of instructor Linda Staver.
They waltzed. They fox-trotted. They tangoed. And they discovered they were pretty good at it.
How good? Earlier this month, the pair traveled to San Francisco to dance before a national examiner affiliated with the National Dance Council of America.
Competing in American-style fox trot and waltz, the two not only passed but did so with "high honors," the best possible designation.
The pair are the first teens from Eugene ever to win the designation, according to Staver, a veteran dance instructor who operates her own dance studio and also teaches dance at Lane Community College. She has previously taught at the University of Oregon.
People of all ages are drawn to ballroom dancing for social reasons, but Potter and Albano were quickly attracted to the competitive aspects as well, Staver said.
"They appear to be very cool, calm and collected before and during a dance and then, afterward, it's, `Wow, we did that.' You get a little adrenaline surge in any performance or competition, and I think that thrill motivates them both."
In San Francisco, Potter and Albano were judged on such elements as their footwork, amount of turn, alignment, sway, posture, stage presence and timing.
Albano, a sophomore at South Eugene High School, thinks they may have done so well in part because they had little idea of just how good they might be. "I had no idea what level we were at," he said.
Potter, who dances with a flair and presence that belies her age, insists she had no inclination of her aptitude for dance prior to watching her parents give it a try about a year ago, in a class taught by Staver. …