Page 10 | June 2015
Ballroom Teaches Elk Ridge Students More Than Dance Steps
As Eye See It Information on Vision and Eye Health by Dale F. Hardy, O.D. Glaucoma is the third most common cause of severe vision loss in the United States. It is estimated that over 11% of blindness is due to glaucoma. Glaucoma is really not a single disease, but is a name used for several related eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. Most often this is related to a higher than normal internal pressure in the eye that can cause damage to the nerve fibers in the optic nerve. This damage can result in severe and permanent loss of vision. This can be Primary Open Angle Glaucoma which develops slowly and painlessly and has often been referred to as “the sneak thief of sight”. It can be Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma when there is a sudden blockage of drainage channels and pressure builds up rapidly. This can cause pain, redness, blurred vision, and halos around lights. There is also a low tension glaucoma where the pressure in the eye appears to be normal but the same changes and damage occurs in the optic nerve as occurs in Open Angle Glaucoma. If there is a history of glaucoma in the family, especially parents or siblings, you should have a yearly comprehensive eye exam. Unfortunately, it is thought that at least half of all people who have glaucoma are not receiving treatment because it has not been detected yet. Diagnostic tests include: measuring the pressure in the eye with a tonometer; visual inspection of the optic nerve where it enters the eye to see if there are any changes there; visual field testing; and ocular coherence tomography of the optic nerve. The first line of treatment is to use eye drops to lower the pressure in the eye. Lowering the pressure has even been proven valuable in low tension glaucoma. More extreme measures are taken in Angle Closure Glaucoma to lower the pressure as quickly as possible. There are also laser and surgical treatments that may be necessary if the drops do not stop the progression of vision loss. Any vision loss as a result of glaucoma is usually permanent. The purpose of treatment is to stop any more loss. That is the reason early detection and treatment are so important.
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S outh Jordan City Journal
By Julie Slama
lk Ridge eighth grader Chris Patterson said at the beginning of the school year, he was timid around girls. “I basically didn’t say much or know what to say,” he said. Then, after signing up for a free afterschool ballroom dance workshop last fall, it forced his hand. “It got me to talk to my partner and then, I got used to talking to girls and interacting. Now I enjoy being with other people and I’ve always liked dancing. I knew I could move my feet, but I didn’t know anything about ballroom. It’s like a sport, but with more focus and responsibility,” he said. Ballroom dance at Elk Ridge Middle School began in 2007 under teacher Megan Rees, who directed the program for three years before taking time off from the afterschool activity to spend more time with her young children. In her absence, Darleen Gordon kept the program alive until Rees returned to the program this fall. More than 75 students signed up for the workshop in the fall, where for three weeks they learned dances twice each week for an hour at a time. Assisting Rees is her former student Brent Arthur, who started a ballroom club at Bingham High when he was a student there, and now volunteers his time with middle school students. “Each week, we’d learn different dance steps as an introductory to ballroom — to see
perform a routine to a Michael Jackson medley that “included a lot of styles and diversity.” However, Rees saw more opportunities for the students and held a community dance event that included performers from Herriman High School, United Dance Artists, Alta High School and other touring dance companies. They also began teaching at local churches and groups, including the Murray Arts Center, and also performed in Herriman High’s concert on April 8. Many students also performed the tango in the school play, “Beauty and the Beast,” in February. In March, she held a second ballroom dance workshop and had 104 students participate in the eight-week lessons. Students learned the cha-cha, swing, waltz, tango, mambo, fox trot and samba. Auditions for next year’s team will be held in May. “These students are dedicated to come after school, wanting to learn these steps when there is no credit given to them,” she said. However, Rees said the students learn more than just dance steps. She remembered learning ballroom from her neighbor, who was on the Brigham Young University team. Through it, she overcame her awkwardness in the middle school years and became more comfortable with who she was as she gained confidence. “I learned how to become more social and that changed my personality. As a girl, I learned how to follow. For boys, nothing
Elk Ridge Middle School students Chris Patterson and Amanda Hornberger said ballroom dance helped them to overcome their shyness and gave them confidence in addition to learning new dance steps. Photo courtesy of Bill Simpson When Chris was named to the dance team, he was so “excited that I ran home and told my mom,” he said. His partner, Amanda Hornberger, who recently moved to the school from Vancouver, Wash., said she saw the team perform and it looked like so much fun that she decided to audition. “After we moved, I wasn’t sure where I fit in, but it looked like so much fun, I wanted to try,” she said. “I was super quiet and nobody noticed me. Now, I’ve made so many friends
Elk Ridge Middle School ballroom team consists of 20 dancers who made the team based on auditions in the fall. The team learned a medley choreographed by Megan Rees, with five dances — swing, rumba, samba, West Coast Swing, and cha-cha — all to classic Michael Jackson music. Photo courtesy of Bill Simpson what it is, to see if they liked it,” Rees said. She taught the students swing, cha-cha, waltz, rumba, samba and West Coast Swing. In late September, after holding auditions, she announced 10 couples to the school team. The team included one seventh grader, eight eighth graders and 11 ninth graders. At that point, Rees said they looked to perform Jan. 7 at the school talent show to
teaches you how to be a man like ballroom. They need to learn how to lead, be strong, think ahead and plan and know what to do. It gives students a chance to learn how to interact socially and they learn dances they can use the rest of their lives. When I first introduced it, many students didn’t know what it was, but now they do and are eager to learn,” she said.
and gained so much confidence, that it has become life-changing for me. I was always shy around boys and now, I could go up to a complete stranger and if he knows the chacha, we could just go have fun dancing. I didn’t really like moving to Utah, but I’m now so grateful for it because I never would have learned ballroom dancing or become confident in myself.” l