12-31-13 Dear Gaby




Dear Gaby

An advice column for dancers

Information is not true knowledge. – Knowledge comes from experience. You can discuss a task a hundred times, go to 1000 classes, but unless we get out there and dance we will only have a philosophical understanding of dance. Find opportunities to get on the social dance floor. You must experience dance firsthand to call yourself a social dancer.
So come to our practice sessions and get the experience you need. You are safe with us …

Happy New Years!

To Dance is to Live

Thank You,
Gabriela Young

Let’s Get Up and Dance in 2014! 12-27-13

By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Dancing New Year 2014

Let’s Get Up and Dance in 2014!

A year ago I did not know I would be sitting in a new office, glass wall facing Broadway in the heart of Santa Monica writing a blog from our new Dance Center! Wow, what a change a year can make. Now, I am imagining the next blog 365 days from now and how it will read. Let’s see, let’s give this a try.


2014 was a great year. We began as a new Arthur Murray Dance Center in Santa Monica, and now we are one of the top Dance Studios in the world! Last year at this time we had just put up our “Grand Opening” sign, just started teaching lessons, and were new to the area.

Now, everyone knows Arthur Murray! We are in full outreach in the community and the City of Santa Monica. We have outreach with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, we are involved in City Events,  we are successful in many organizations and businesses in our neighborhood. We regularly hear folks saying “Aren’t you the Arthur Murray guys?” We have become a part of the city!

It seems just a moment ago that we opened, and now we are so grateful for the tremendous success we have experienced. Thank you all!

Now, back to today…I think this is a good prediction for the upcoming year. For you and your life, your families, and your loved ones, I wish you all a wonderful year of service and success.

This is how I define success, how much we have given back to our community, how many lives we have changed, how we have given back to all those around us. Recently I chatted with one of the most successful business women in Santa Monica. She is widely known and respected and she said this to me: “I have no idea of how much I made last year or how much I spent, and I don’t care. How much service I gave to others is all that matters to me.” Wow, that blew me over and truly touched me. She is wildly successful, yet she lives in the business module of wealth only through a live of service to others.

Why did this take me so long to learn, I don’t know. Yet I know that now I truly believe that our health is our wealth and the amount of income we desire is based on the amount of service we give others. This is the formula, you can have everything you want in your life as long as you help others get what they want in their lives!

Ok, let’s get some homework on the table:
1. Write down your 2014 goals, I mean on paper with a pen (then you can post them on FB)
2. Speak your goals aloud and say them over and over.
3. Post them where you can see them (bathroom mirror)
4. TELL them to someone you can trust (then someone you don’t like, they’ll keep you real)
5. Lastly, TAKE ACTION and start the ball rolling to achieve your goals.

Happy New Year 2014All this talk about goals is truly how the successful live. Everyone in life who is prosperous has set goals and they work hard to achieve them. Will it be hard, well, what do you think…Yes. Any change is downright hard, but change is inevitable in life and it will happen one way or the other, so you might as well plan on change so the ball is in your court for the game of life.

I am planning on a great 2014 with huge success. I plan on health, faith, achievement, growth, and prosperity in every form. I am focusing on a great year of dancing and building a studio known for the very highest standard of dance and instruction.

So, as this blog ends, put on some music, get up and dance…dance around the room. Go to work and dance, dance in the kitchen, dance with friends, dance at the market, dance everywhere you go, and add a smile and some laughter. With that you will not want for anything in your life!

Thank You!
David Earl Woodbury
Next Week: Make January Your Success Month!

Happy Holidays from Gaby!


Dear Gaby

An advice column for dancers

  • To be a really good dancer, you must be able to dance without having to think about your steps. Your feet must learn to respond easily to the rhythm of the music; you must be able to follow without apparent effort.
  • Remember—confidence is the name of the game. And confidence comes only with knowledge and practice.
  • Cultivate lightness. It is vital. Practicing the basic steps in dancing—especially practicing alone—is the trick in learning lightness.
  • Keep your feet out of your partner’s way. Develop a long, free back step by swinging from the hip. Once the basic steps become second nature, learn a variety of steps to improve your dance repertoire for more interest and fun.
  • Move naturally, easily and comfortably. Don’t be self-conscious or still.

To dance is to live 

Thank You,

Gabriela Young

Dancing Through The Holidays

No 7: Changing Lives through Dancing

By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dancing Through the Holidays!

Dancing Mr and Mrs Santa ClauseA time of grace, rebirth, faith, hope and renewal. What a wonderful time of year, my favorite of all seasons. The gleam in everyone’s eye, the wonderful greetings, the giving attitudes, everyone is at their best at this time of year.

For Arthur Murray, this is our most glorious season.  Gradation Ball, Holiday Ball, Festival, Grand Parties, Showcases, it’s non-stop excitement and fun. Every Arthur Murray studio is packed with happy students and motivated staff who are all making the season bright through the Gift of Dance.

For our new studio, we are full of grace and gratitude for the season. Our many blessings, the doors that have opened for us, and the strength that we have been giving to accomplish the tasks and goals that have been set before us.  What an honor to have been given the dream to start a new venture and the wisdom that has been bestowed upon us to manage our new dancing home.

Let’s also remember that this is not always a joyous season for all. Some have illness, some are experiencing loss, some are alone, and some are angry with all the commercialism. During all the Christmas Masses, I am always looking for the soul that needs that special smile, that warm greeting, and that moment of encouragement that may turn them around.  The privilege of having the opportunity to serve others during this time is also full of the responsibility to give a blessing to others with each salutation.

The beauty of dancing and Ballroom Dancing at Arthur Murray is that it is a great place to be if you are alone, away from your family, recovering from health issues, or walking through the dark night of the soul in grief. The warm atmosphere, the happiness, the joy, the power of the music and the magic combination with the dancing will transform gloom into glee, a frown into a smile, a tear into a laugh!

Through all my 37+ years with Arthur Murray Dance Centers, I have learned to think with positive hope, and always try to be the best I can be in every way. Ballroom dancing pulls out all the great qualities in a person and the dancing raises one to a new standard in life.  I’m so grateful for all my dance mentors and dancing friends.  They are all happy, successful, and constantly striving to change the world and change lives, one dance step at a time.

Here’s an exercise for you and for me:  Go out and for a day give smiles.  Look for others who seem lost, hurt, angry, and alone and just give them a great greeting.  Shake their hands, give them a hug, tell them that they are special and a gift of life.  Take a moment to thank someone and let them know that they have changed your life for the better. Pause with a friend and put your arm on their shoulder and say a blessing out loud for them. Shed a tear, laugh a laugh, and make this a mission for the rest of the holidays, not just for one day.

Dancing Santas 3 in the photoNext blog we wrap up the year and prepare for 2014.  I can’t wait for the challenges, the successes, the wonderful dance work ahead. Let me at it, give me the challenges and the strength to achieve my goals.  I have faith that I’m going to make it. I won’t give up so easily this time. I will look adversity in the face and say, “I am strong, I have joy in my heart, I have laughter, I have faith…Fear, get behind me!” This time, I’m going to make it and make it big.  I won’t give up.  I won’t fail. I won’t turn back.

And get this, I am taking others with me on the road to success.  I will not travel alone, I will move forward and lead the way to great successes.  Hope, Faith, Perseverance, Strength…I have all these and I’m moving forward. 

Have a blessed holiday season and we’ll see you next week to set our Dancing Goals for 2014

Thank You!

David Earl Woodbury 

Next Week: Let’s Get Up and Dance in 2014!



12-17-13 Helpful Dancing Etiquette Tips for Men


Dear Gaby

An advice column for dancers


Helpful Dancing Etiquette Tips for Men

  • Do dance with several partners at a dance—and always with your hostess
    at least once.
  • Do practice good sportsmanship by not monopolizing a single partner on the dance floor.
  • Lead your partner smoothly through the crowd, being careful that hands or elbows do not collide with those of other couples.
  • Remember that bad dancing habits are easier to make than break. Even while you are learning, follow along the “line of dance.” When you enter onto a dance floor, stepping out counter-clockwise is the general rule.
  • Do escort your partner back to the table. Never leave her in the middle of dance floor.
  • In closing, remember a little etiquette goes a long way…Have Fun!

To dance is to live

Thank You,

Gabriela Young

No 6: Changing Lives through Dancing

By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 13, 2013

Shed Your Coat!

I had a dream the other night. I was walking forward with a heavy coat of worry and doubt and fear, and I looked up. I saw a great light and felt warmth and just let the coat fall off my shoulders and was free from its weight and the burdens I was carrying.

Take off your coat Yellow Coat on treeUpon awakening, I knew that I had to research the dream and find out what was the message from the dropping of the coat. Shedding your coat is something that happens to animals yearly.  For the winter animals gain a heavy, thick coat to shield them from the weather. In the spring they shed this coat for the hot summer months ahead, and then they shed in preparation for a new coat to appear for the approaching cold.

As the nights grow colder and days shorter, dogs begin preparing for winter. A dog will lose its summer coat to prepare for the coarse winter coat that is needed for protection during the long cold season ahead. Then, the process begins all over again for the summer preparation.

As a dancer, franchisee, and new business owner, I have had to do the same ‘shedding” of my old coat.  In preparation of the demands that would be placed on me spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically, I had to let go of a lot of old habits and thoughts and ways and prepare for the new thoughts to take effect.

New responsibilities have required me not only to shed my old “coat” but to have many new coats to wear and many hats to don. From being the Administrative Assistant, Instructor, Supervisor, Counselor, Manager, Owner and Janitor and Handy-Man! With all these duties, I have realized that the most important people here are first my staff.  They need to know that they are important to me and they come first. If the teachers are happy, well treated, expertly trained, imagine the service that our students will receive from them!

Team Leader Red Man with followers in TriangleIn being a Team Leader, the most important people are those on your team. Make them feel useful, special, and needed.  Then, the service that they give is from the heart and is sincere, full of enthusiasm and sincerity. The service they then offer is phenomenal!

So, how does all this shedding coat talk work with dancing? Well, in dancing, we spend most of our time taking out the bad habits so the natural, free-flowing dancing may manifest itself.  We streamline our bodies, our arm actions, our Cuban motion and frames in smooth. We “shed” the old unneeded affectations that we know and we end up with the pure essence of each dance.  The glory of Waltz, the staccato of Tango, the Cuban Motion of the Rumba, and the pulse of the Cha Cha and Salsa. These simple pure techniques rise to the top as we grow and mature in our dancing.

What is the “coat” that you need to shed? A bad habit. A dance technique that is not working for you. Tardiness to lessons. Lack of preparations for routines. Or just not practicing and preparing enough.  Shed your old bad habit and put on the new coat to get you through the season ahead and prepare for success.

My whole life has prepared me for this moment.  In Woodland Hills Arthur Murray, my office was the Front Desk and what a blessing that was to me then, and invaluable training to me now.  The captain of the ship should always be visible, useful and ready to lead. Now in Santa Monica Arthur Murray, I feel prepared to hoist the sails and sail us to our new future.

Remember to like us on Facebook, Arthur Murray Santa Monica, and visit our web page,. Happy Holidays!

Thank You!

David Earl Woodbury 

Next Week: Dance through the Season!

Tips from Gaby 12-10-13

Dear Gaby

Gabycrop-1An advice column for dancers

Practice makes perfect .

This is generally true, practicing can get you closer to your dance goals. It’s like anything in life, if we wish to master or just improve on any one skill, a little time and effort goes a long way.

When we are consistent with taking our private dance lessons,  group classes and practice sessions, along with going to a dance club, you are perfecting your dance skills every step of the way, and at the very least you are having a whole lot of fun!

In my early years of learning how to dance, I remember my dance instructor giving me homework, it was how to practice my Cuban motion. I was a waitress at the time and I remember practicing while waiting for the food to come out of the oven. I’m sure it was only a minute or two at a time but as I waited I would find a corner in the room and bend and straighten my legs. That minute spent waiting for food orders became my practice time…so as you can see you don’t need to wait.  You could be practicing right where you are, waiting at the cross walk, elevator, or bank and in grocery store lines, or in your car while listening to music. These where some of my favorite places.

I am not a very patient person. Waiting at the bank and in grocery store lines drives me crazy, so working on posture and foot position took me out of being in my head and being mad about waiting, so I turned delays into my dance practice time.  The time just went so much faster that way.

Southern California traffic can drive anyone mad. Turn up that music and practice your timings: cha cha cha , slow quick quick , triple step triple step rock step.

Yay, you are one step closer to your dance goals.

To dance is to live

Thank You,

Gabriela Young