The Brevity of Time! David Woodbury’s Blog 7-31-15

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No 31. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Brevity of Time!

The life that conquers is the life that moves with a steady
resolution and persistence toward a predetermined goal. Those who
succeed are those who have thoroughly learned the immense importance
of plan in life, and the tragic brevity of time.

— W.J. Davison

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else
expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard
master to yourself – and be lenient to everybody else.

— Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American Presbyterian Minister

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Time is short. I was at a Magnificent 7 party last Saturday for all the 21 great students who achieved 7 wonderful goals during International Dance Festival 2015. Joel and I planned the evening, sent out tons of emails, visited many places and finally decided on Rusty’s on the Santa Monica Pier. We danced to a great blues band and the food and drinks were wonderful.

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There was one problem, it all went by too quickly. Joel and I showed up an hour early to set up, check in, order the food and prepare with drink tickets. The band was setting up. The weather on the pier was a perfect summer’s night over the Pacific Ocean. Then, everyone began to show up. Hugs, laughter, photos, food, fun, drinks all around. Wow, the first hour flew by!

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Then this great band began to play. I love to dance to live music. It’s so much fun for me. We all began to dance and it was pure magic. I was taking lots of photos and I noticed on my phone that it was already 10:30. It took me a minute to realize that all this fun was passing so quickly.

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Then, it was 11 and we had our last night of the evening. We said good night, gave all our hugs and we walked back to the studio where we had parked our car. It was a good long walk and a perfect night. I realized that it had been a great evening and everyone had fun and celebrated their part of the Magnificent 7.

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Then I realized how fast it had passed. To tell the truth, Joel and I worked for an hour at the school, then went home only to rise at 5:15 AM. I was Team Leader for the 7:30 AM Mass and Joel was serving as well. The night had passed and it was now a glorious Sunday.

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I realized that I must live in the moment, for time is flying all around us. One of our Mag 7 dancers came in and she had tears in her eyes when she told me that the evening had passed too quickly and that it was over so fast. I got teary eyes as well and we gave each other a big hug and a big smile.

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Enjoy the moment:

No pleasure philosophy, no sensuality, no place nor power, no
material success can for a moment give such inner satisfaction as the
sense of living for good purposes, for maintenance of integrity, for
the preservation of self-approval.

— Minot Simons

Have Fun!

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking  risks,
breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.

— Mary Lou Cook

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If life is calling to you, and your destiny is being unveiled before you, I beg you, step forward and join in life and join in the fun. We only go around once. Make each day count and love each moment and give away the joy of life.

Keep on Dancing!’

David Woodbury

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No 30. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 24, 2015

Impossibilities Vanish!

Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities
vanish.– Jean de la Fontaine

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.– Henry Ford (1863-1947) American Industrialist

At Unique Dance-O-Rama, I was honored to be one of the judges for the event. What an exciting adventure. Standing on the dance floor and being able to watch dancers up close and personal. I could clearly see their choreography, footwork, styling, and character of each dance. So thrilling!

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I watched calm dancers, dancers whose hands were shaking in dance position, dancers who were smiling and dancers whose faces were locked in fear. Some dancers counted their steps, some sang the words to the songs being played, some smiled and laughed as they dance, and then the dancers who were truly having the time of their lives.  It was so fun to watch all the dancers. They looked so alive and in the moment.

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The last night of the competition I was privileged to judge the American Smooth Pro Competition. I just love Smooth. The dancers were so close to me that I could smell the ladies perfume and even say hello to the male dancers. I could feel the air move as the dresses brushed so close to me. I could actually feel their dancing. The elegance of the Waltz, the power of the Tango, the control and smoothness of the Foxtrot, and the unbelievable energy of the exciting Viennese Waltz, my #1 favorite dance of all time.

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Judging this professional competition was very difficult. The dancers were all so committed to excellence and showing the character of each of their dances.  Each couple in the final went through a Quarter and Semi Final, to get to the last 6 in the Final Heat.  The Final Heat is almost a professional show of the best 6 professional couples at the event, all dancing their best at the same time.

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The awards are heart wrenching. The looks as the 6th, 5th and 4th couples are called, then the last 3 remaining couples.  Then the last 2 couples wait, hugging and kissing each other with congratulations.  The pause of the announcement seems to never pass, then the runners up are called and the winners are revealed.  The winning couple is left on the floor, tears and laughter and hugs, then they graciously bow and then walk up to congratulate every other couple and then take their spots as first place for the photos.

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The 6 winners are now a family and they have created a memory of a lifetime. They have sealed their friendships that will last the rest of their lives. They are leave the floor to many, many hugs, congratulations, and pats on the back and more and more Facebook photos.  The night is full of magic.

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I am honored to have danced with Arthur Murray for 39 years, October 15 started my 40th year with our company. I have, God willing, many, many more years of dancing with Arthur Murray ahead for me.  As Bob Long says, “I’m all in” for the rest of my life with Arthur Murray. Can you imagine the joy I feel daily as I know that I will be dancing as long as I live?  I’ll never get enough of the fun, partnership, connection, dancing, shows, exhibitions and opportunities to dance in front of others.

There’s always a bright future ahead for us all with dancing and music.  My mom, J. Clair, always said to me “Keep a little song in your heart”.  I do that while keeping a little dance in my feet as well.

This was fun to write and share with you all.  Keep on dancing. Arthur Murray is the best place to dance world wide. We are the leaders in making dancing dreams come alive for YOU!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

Now what….? by Gabriela Young

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Now what….?

Your sore feet, the glitter you will find for the next 3 weeks, and the memories of dancing fun and new friends are proof of the hard work, dedication and fun from Unique Dance-O-Rama 2015. The videos, awards, plaques, and score sheets that you will receive are all great tools to help remember the fun and excitement of the competition and to also help plan the future of your dancing. So now what?

Now is the time to set your goals for the next competition, whether it is Superama in Las Vegas, World Dance O Rama in New Orleans, or your next local event, now we review and move forward to the next part of your dancing. At competition there are a few tools we use to plan what to work on next. Pictures and videos are a great way to see how you looked in your dancing, as well as how the other people in your heat looked for a good comparison. We can use these to pinpoint specific things to work on, such as timing, footwork, frame/posture, or character of the dance, so that next event you will be that much more prepared. The heat sheets with your open and closed scores are also great tools to use to see how you compared with those in your category as well as to see how you compared to the standard of each dance. Using these scores will allow you to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie so that you and your instructor can create a game plan on what to work on for the future.

Your placement at an event isn’t what is important, what’s important is working efficiently to better yourself so that you feel more comfortable and confident. We never stop growing in our dancing, whether you’ve been dancing 6 months or 60 years, there is always more that we can learn and experience. Remember that dancing takes practice, patience, and more practice to be able to have good technique and to really show the joy you feel on the inside. Never forget the way dancing makes you feel and why it is you decided to take lessons and go to an event. From overcoming shyness, to physical fitness, or meeting new people, dancing is about how many times you smiled, and how many smiles you got in return.

Happy Dancing

Gabriela Young

Every Great Dream Begins with a Dreamer 7-17-15

Beth and David 6-10-15

No 29. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 17, 2015

Every Great Dream Begins with a Dreamer

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. –Harriet Tubman

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A very dear, new friend sent this saying to me. We are at the footsteps of a project for Arthur Murray Santa Monica that will benefit our city and change many lives.  It is all a dream that is coming true, supported by a team of Dream Makers.

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What is it like to work on this project?  I am alive every day. I am excited every moment of every day.  I am becoming friends with the most amazing leaders, innovators, volunteers, thinkers, and all around great people.  Being surrounded by such a host of exciting people is truly rewarding every day.

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The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of
immortality.– John Quincy Adams

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and
lifting people up.– John Andrew Holmes

If a man hasn’t discovered something that he would die for, he isn’t
fit to live. (from a speech in Detroit, June 23, 1963).– Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American Civil Rights Leader

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As I get older, I am becoming more and more driven to raise money for kids. To educate kids and get the magic of music and dance to kids.  To give them direction, purpose, hope, discipline, and a dream for the future.

Is all this easy. I say not!  Many challenges meet us daily. It’s like pushing a rock up a hill said one of my sponsors. But it is a good rock and it’s worth the push! I don’t want an easy way to go. My life has never been easy and I have always chosen the harder path. I think I’m a stronger person for my persistence.

Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you
temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will,
cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle never
know.– Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English Novelist and Clergyman

Each of us, if we would grow, must be committed to excellence and to
victory, even though we know complete victory cannot be obtained, it
must be pursued with all one’s might. The championships, the money,
the color; all of these things linger only in the memory.  It is the
spirit, the will to excel, the will to win; these are the things that
endure.– Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) American Football Coach

Are you happy today? Are you fulfilled? Do you have a 100 fears that are holding you back? Try this; listen to what others need. Listen to the 100 yeses that others say to you each day and give great service to others.  Help make others dreams come true. Live a life of service to help other find their own dreams and fulfill those dreams.

Be committed to excellence. I’ll bet you, you’ll be happy every day!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

Let Your Light Shine by Gabriela Young 7-13-15

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Letting your light shine at Arthur Murray’s Unique Dance-O-Rama 2015

Whether this is your first or your 100th Arthur Murray Dance-O-Rama, there is no better experience than Unique Dance-O-Rama hosted at the beautifully renovated Hotel Irvine. Run by Steve and Georgetta Platt, this event is a “Unique” experience that will always keep you wanting more. From the amazing staff show spectacular, to the beautifully designed ballroom, to the dazzling dresses, and amazing dancing by both our professionals and our students, there is something for everyone at Unique.

Getting ready for a Ballroom competition, the competition itself, and post competition is always an emotional time and that’s okay! Before the competition there is going to be the excitement of meeting new friends, seeing old friends, showing off the routines and freestyles you’ve worked so hard on, and watching the amazing show. There are also the nerves of all the what if’s that could go wrong, which your instructor is already aware of and has a plan for each one (even if you don’t know it) so let them worry, this is a time for YOU to shine and enjoy!

Speaking of shining on the dance floor the one tip that I can give you as a judge is to just have FUN! It may seem silly, because it is a ballroom competition, but your instructor and yourself have worked hard to make sure those tiny details become muscle memory, and a reminder of those little things can help but don’t forget to have fun! As a judge the first thing I see is whether or not the couple dancing is enjoying themselves whether it is; Waltz, Foxtrot, Swing, Cha Cha, Salsa, or even Tango. Smiling is a great way to catch our attention and helps us to enjoy your dancing too because remember you are performing. Having fun allows you to relax more so that your movements aren’t stifled, allows you to feel the timing and character of the music more, and allows you to . . . . have fun! Go out there and have the time of your life, let your light shine, have fun, and remember that Arthur Murray Santa Monica is proud of each and every student, you are already a champion in our eyes! If you don’t know us, say hi, you are already part of our family by being part of Arthur Murray.

Happy Dancing!

Gabriela Young

No Cell Phone Service 7-10-15

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No 28. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, July 10, 2015

No Cell Phone Service

Recently, I went to my sister Debi’s wedding. It was in Granville, TN one full hour outside of Nashville. We landed, and immediately left in our rental car.

Beautiful, Tennessee is green and beautiful and it poured rain (we don’t have that in Santa Monica). We had our Google Map lady in our phones take us there along with some directions from a local. As we drove off the main highway, into the side roads, then through the hills of Tennessee, THERE WAS NO CELL SIGNAL! By God’s grace, we found “The Cottage” and my sister’s home.

What a lovely family reunion. My baby sister was a champion ballroom dancer, my professional dance partner, and a European champion in Denmark. We had not all been together since Daddy’s passing some time ago. Also, the family had not met my newly wed husband, Joel Rieck.

We had a lovely dinner with the family then we started to leave. Dark curving roads along water….NO SIGNAL.
My sweet sister got in her car and escorted us to The Cottage. The air was pure and clean and the sounds of the southern country evening filled the air. Where were the sirens? Where was the traffic noise? (also they did not have the sound of the Pacific Ocean as we do!)

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The next morning we walked to the local eatery (not even a stoplight in Granville) and I began to realize that no one was on their cell phones. No one was driving and texting. The patrons at the diner/store/gas station/market/who knows what else, were all speaking to each other. Joel and I pulled out our phones and we realized, other than for photos (I took over 400) that we had to sit there and TALK to each other without posting to Facebook and we could not blast out photos on Instagram.

Kids were walking around talking with one another and no one was crossing the road in heavy traffic while texting and listening to iTunes in both ears. I felt as if I was in a time machine and had gone back two decades. I asked the cashier about the cell phones and she said that some people on the mountain tops had “boosters” for their phones, but for us all, and for everyone working in the market, no one had their phones.

At the wedding later that day, everyone SPOKE to each other and we sat and CHATTED. Not one person was checking their email….WOW! Since I could have my Samsung S6 surgically implanted into my skull, I was taking 100’s of photos as fast as I could. I was worried like mad for they were not uploading immediately to Dropbox. No Signal! Where were all the tons of notification sounds, phone ringtones and vibrating phones on the table tops! There was only peace and quiet all around us along with the local country music station.

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The wedding was lovely and spiritually moving. Afterwards we waited for the reception dinner and we listened to some real Bluegrass Music by a band that could have appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. Everyone was sitting LISTENING to the music and no one was on their cell phone. The afternoon concert was over and then we all went in for the dinner.

Debi and Charlie danced their first dance, then Debi and I danced two fun routines together. So much fun. Just a few were taking pictures and no one could email them immediately. We were enjoying the moment to the fullest and we were communicating with each other. Amazing. Debi and I danced two more times through the audience as they applauded her in her beautiful wedding gown!

That night at Debi and Charlie’s, we gathered and they opened their wedding presents and cards. NO ONE was on their cell. We laughed, talked, told stories, ate and drank. It was wonderful and healing with all the love in the house. I was of course glued to my phone taking photos like a maniac!

That night we all departed full of stories of our youth, memories of the day, and love and family cheer. Joel and I made it to The Cottage fine. During the night, a signal would come through for 5 seconds and we heard our phones chirp and we both jumped up like trained dogs. Oh my, I just got 5 emails! I just received 3 texts! We were pitiful phone addicts! Our phones were torturing us and mocking us!

In the morning we ate again with people not on their phones…anywhere. We started to drive back to Nashville and got LOST! Not by much, but we did not have Google Maps and it was daylight going the opposite direction in the hills of Tennessee. Then suddenly as we neared the highway….A SIGNAL! We had returned to civilization. Our phones took us to Woodlawn to see Mom and Dad’s markesr, then visit the Parthenon, burgers at White Castle, then drive to the airport.

What a wonderful visit. When we were at the airport, our time travel portal had closed. No one was talking to anyone else. All were glued to their phones, calling, texting, uploading photos, posting on FB about their travels. Then, back to LAX and on the road with drivers calling and texting at 70 mile per hour. All was back to normal!

I loved the freedom from my cell signal. But for now, I can’t wait to post this on our web site, FB and Twitter and send it out to my family, friends, and Arthur Murray readers. Ah, the world of the internet. Yet, I will remember for a long time being in a city way in the hills of Tennessee without a cell phone signal…a bit of heaven!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury