Reese’s Pieces 3-29-16 – Myofascial release

Reese Elliot

002 Reese’s Pieces 3-29-16

Have you ever been to the gym and seen someone on the floor with a weird looking tube under their body, rolling back and forth? At first this can be quite a spectacle. The sounds they make and the look on their faces may make you think twice before signing up for whatever group fitness class they’re taking. What would cause a person to perform such self-torture at the gym? No need to fear. Myofascial release is here! Wait….huh?

Myofascial release is a technique used by many athletes (especially dancers) to rid the body of aches and pains. Often when injury occurs it’s assumed to be muscular trauma. This trauma such as scarring, swelling, and repetitive stress to tissue can cause the body to be sore and tight. Although the muscles may be sore, they aren’t necessarily the cause of your discomfort. Fascia is a densely woven collection of tissue that connects all compartments of your body. These web like sheets have a wavy structure and help to support and align muscles. When micro trauma to this tissue occurs, the fascia’s ability to stretch and move freely is inhibited. Correcting or relieving this is vital to maintain normal or performance level muscle function.

Now that we have some knowledge of fascia, let’s connect the dots. Those little squishy balls and that oversized tootsie rolls that people are laying on, how do they work? Those sore spots on your body that cause an extra wince or moan are called trigger points. Consider trigger points as the gateway to your fascia, and thus the rest of your body. When we roll out on our fancy body rollers, the pressure we apply to the trigger points is what helps alleviate our pain. It’s a type of self-massage. Once you find these trigger points on your body, roll over them applying pressure for 30-60 seconds. Pain tolerance is going to vary by person so it is important to remember to not overdo it. There is no sense in hurting our bodies further. Breathing is vital during this period. Taking deep controlled breaths will make the process easier. If you feel as though the spot is too tender, try a softer object. Tennis and racquet balls make for a great softer substitute. After rolling out your muscles should feel more relaxed and less painful. If you start to roll out regularly try your best to find new spots, constantly analyzing what feels best for you.

I hope these techniques work for you. To let me know your thoughts, reach me at I welcome discussions and questions related to dance fitness. It’s my hope that every life is enriched through dance, health, and well-being. The most important thing to consider when trying to get healthy is to constantly strive to get better and make improvements. The results we get are a reflection of the efforts we put in.

Reese Elliot

Dance Professional


The Virtue is in the Striving 3-25-16

Paola Exit to Solo Foxtrot 3-6-16 with Text and Logo

No 13 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Virtue is in the Striving

“We are fallible. We certainly haven’t attained perfection. But we can strive for it, and the virtue is in the striving.” – Carlos P. Romulo (1899 – 1985) Phillipine Diplomat, Aide-de-camp to Gen. Douglas MacArthur

“As long as a person doesn’t admit he is defeated, he is not defeated — he’s just a little behind and isn’t through fighting.”- Darrell Royal (1924) American Football Coach, University of Texas

Is life every hard for you? Your job, dancing, family, faith, relationships, health, goals, friendships. Ever have a rough patch? Every feel alone? Every feel like you are failing? Well, we will never be perfect, yet we can still strive for perfection and the goodness from that effort will cause us to succeed.

Get this, you’re not defeated until YOU say so! I think in my past I quit sometimes too early and I gave up too easily, even though I thought I had to at the time. Now, I won’t quit until, well ever. I’ll continue to strive and find my reward through the many little victories and sometimes the great victories that come my way.

“In the final analysis there is no solution to man’s progress but the day’s honest work, the day’s honest decisions, the day’s generous utterances and the day’s good deed.” – Clare Booth Luce

Ever think you want to much, or you’re not getting enough? The truth is that in life it’s never enough. Money, time off, health, possessions, achievements, and recognition. It’s funny in my life that I am surrounded by people who give back constantly, and they are the people who never seem to complain about what they don’t have. They are always raising money for some cause, donating time to some cause, giving to someone or some group daily. They are happy and at peace.

“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”- Baron de Coubertin, The Olympic Creed

Perhaps my thoughts of being the “winner” were not always right in my early days. I thought I had to have the most and be the one to impress others with the best. Now, I realize that my calling in life is to help mold others and help others to achieve their dreams through the experience and knowledge that I possess. Daily, I try to give away that enthusiasm to others to help them experience success in their lives.

Keep Striving!

David Earl Woodbury (email me if you like this blog)

Reese’s Pieces 3-22-16

Reese Elliot


Reese’s Pieces Number 001 #TeamSantaMonica

Fitness is a journey of the mind not just your physique. Your physical body is a reflection of that journey. This journey of mind-body must represent how you feel and who you are. The idea that what we do outwardly we must do inwardly is accurate, and the same is true vice-versa. People just starting their fitness journey need to be engaged with the material in order to reap the benefits. Newcomers are not always fully committed to their physical and health goals, so they must be surrounded by activities that pique their interest and challenge their brains. As instructors, we want students who enjoy training sessions. We all want to enjoy our workouts. Being emotionally and mentally fulfilled by your workout is one of the most important obstacles to overcome. Dance is a great way to accomplish this. Ballroom dance is an excellent physical workout that will scratch your creative expression itch.

The words health and fitness each carry various meanings. Today when people visualize what a healthy and fit lifestyle is, they imagine a storm of protein shakes and fad diets. What if a healthy and fit lifestyle was an intricate collage of fun and engaging activities that benefited you without you realizing it? In this dream program you get exactly what you want; ballroom dance, fun, cardio, as well as a support network of like-minded students.

These scenarios are great food for thought. I want you to take a moment to reflect on what it is you want from your life through your dancing and exercising. Realize everything that comes into mind is attainable. Always reach for the stars when it comes to taking care of yourself.  The American philosopher Alan Watts writes, “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance”. This holds meaning for both dancers and fitness aficionados, lucky for us we’re both!

Reese Elliot – Dance Professional
Keep on Dancing!

Every Great Dream Begins with a Dreamer 3-16-16 St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day with Logo

No 12 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 18, 2016

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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I have dreams. Do you? I remember dreams and write them down. I watch visions deep in my sleep. They are just like watching movies. I can hear, feel, smell, and am surrounded by the dream. Many times I arise and write the dream down. Then, I dream the same dream over and over, over the course of days, weeks, months, and even years.

There’s a new dream I’ve had recently. I have just gone through overwhelm in my life and I felt crushed under the duties I had assumed. Even to the point of feeling crushed. While I was dreaming and I saw myself walking down a road and I felt amazingly free. I looked back over my shoulder and saw a truck load of belongings lying in the road.

I could see furniture, suitcases, boxes, books, and all manner of things strewn over the dusty dirt. The heavy, defeating load had fallen off of me. I was carrying nothing and I was free. Then, I awoke and I was strong, angry strong. I said “I’m going to make it” “I haven’t come this far to fail” and I was mad with strength all day.

A day later, nothing had changed in my circumstances, but I felt free! I felt strong! Now, there is a big change in my outlook. I’m not driving the junk truck. I’m not carrying the heavy load. I’m free and free to move forward to success.

Gelson's Grand Opening 3-17-16

“Life’s about friendships, the way you love your partner, the way you care for your children. That is what life is about. Not anything about earning a hundred zillion dollars because you toured America more than anyone else. I want life to be about creativity.” – Joe Strummer Former lead singer for the Clash rock band

Now the creativity is flowing again and the positive energy is not blocked. The imaginative thoughts are flowing and the light of life is shining again. In a daily dream, yes, one I dream each day, I see a funnel of energy flowing to me. It looks like a clear fire hose that a combination of light and water flow from together. I have seen this same “washing” of the light/water flowing over me for a few weeks now and it has been amazing to watch and experience.

This morning I was watching the spot of water/light flowing toward me, and someone from the back right of me said, “This is HOPE”. I was astounded. I was being washed with HOPE daily! I often see the dream of me sitting in a creek of life water. I take out my heart and wash it in the cleaning water. I cleanse my heart from any “black glass” shards (darkness) and clean my heart. Then I wash out my brain in the water (looks like a sponge). My brain washes clean and I replace it and replace my cleansed and healed heart. Then, the waters of life/light continue to flow over me. Now, I know that this is the flow of HOPE over me!

Plaid Party with Logo 3-11-16

“In every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that; try to imitate it, and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.”- John Ruskin (1819-1900) English Art Critic

See light in others. Find out what you like in another person the moment you see them and build an empire on that goodness. You’ll find out that you are never alone and you never know a stranger.

Keep Dreaming!

David Earl Woodbury (email me if you like this blog)

To Witness Someone’s Life 3-11-16

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No 11 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 11, 2016

To Witness Someone’s Life

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack London

Tonight I said to Joel Rieck, my husband, that I did not mind the fact that I make a fool of myself in front of him all the time. Trying to Twitter, upload videos to YouTube, edit photos, work our computer program, handle daily problems. Making choreography work, decorating, planning, all while I put my creativity on the line and all the while, working hard to get it right.

During the journey to achieve making it all happen, I make a million boo boos. I told Joel, how do you watch me over and over as I try to succeed and I keep getting up over and over, although with each setback, there is a silver lining of success. Joel said this to me, “Well, I’m here to witness your life. To go through your life with you.” In the middle of Starbucks, I wept. What a nice thing to say to me. Warts and all, Joel is the witness of my life, and I of his.

“I don’t think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it. I think if you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can get it done.”- Mike Ditka (1939) American, Football Coach, Chicago Bears

I know that Joel and I are both willing to pay the price and we believe we can get it done. Joel is the hardest worker I have ever known. Although he is an accomplished dancer, and franchisee, he still commits more, harder and longer than anyone I have ever known. And he continues to amaze me with his work ethic.

For me, I have to go home and rest sometimes. I need naps, I get tired, beyond my ability to push and yet Joel still works another 6 hours beyond me. What he knows is that I am witnessing his life as well. His ability to work with and motivate others. How he makes the studio active and productive and happy. Joel is a 100% fully committed person and exemplifies honor and dedication.

I’ll never be on that rocking chair sipping mint julips in the late afternoon. I’ll be organizing the Ming Julip Festival that will be a benefit for something and I’ll be on two more committees for more fund raisers! Are there moments of repose, yes, but I love the action and being in the heart of the game.

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Let’s not worry about fear. Just look at it in the face and say “Get behind me” and them move forward and move on. I think I might be depressed sometimes, but I just don’t have the time. I’m too busy with light and life and living to the fullest.

Move forward, move ahead, live life!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury (email me if you like this blog)

A Short Memory… 3-4-16

No 10 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 4, 2016

Paola Exit to Solo Foxtrot 3-6-16 with Text and Logo

“I’m at a time in my life where I realize that those who can’t forget are worse off than those who can’t remember! Secret to happiness is Good Health and a Short Memory!” -Rita Davenport

David and Paola DSB 3-6-16 with Logo and Text

A while ago, I realized that someone with whom I had held a grudge for a long time, did not even know that they were making my life miserable and unhappy. They did not know that they had wronged me so many years ago, and that they had, in my mind, “done me wrong”. All that pain and misery was wasted because I had not told that person what they had “done to my life” and I was angry about it.

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I typed a letter and poured out all the pain and said exactly what they had done to me. I got it all out, every little bit of anger and resentment, and then I burned the letter. As the paper burned, I realized that I had only hurt myself all those years and that I was drinking poison and was waiting for the other person to die.

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The proof of the pudding was that I saw that person recently, and they were lovely to me and supportive and loving. I drank it all in and enjoyed the reunion because I had let go of the hurt. I guess I have now forgotten and began to enjoy my new Short Memory! What a shame that I had let that anger get the best of me for so very long.

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“Never neglect an extraordinary appearance or happening. It may be — usually is, in fact — a false alarm that leads to nothing, but it may on the other hand be the clue provided by fate to lead you to some important advance.”- Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), British microbioligist who discovered penicillin.

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Perhaps this truly was fate and was opening my mind and heart to a new possibility of happiness in my life.

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“A life without purpose is a languid, drifting thing; Every day we ought to review our purpose, saying to ourselves: This day let me make a sound beginning, for what we have hitherto done is naught!”- Thomas a Kempis

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What is now my daily purpose? Realizing that my life is truly now about service and what I can give back to others. There’s just not enough “stuff” to make me happy any more. Perhaps giving back “stuff” to others is the only formula for constant happiness for me now. I never feel bad after donating time, effort, or funds to helping others or helping a great cause.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”- Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American First Lady and Political Activist

Some advice, choosing the path of giving back is not easy. You have trouble finding the right people to understand your calling, and when you meet them, they encourage you to always grow to your potential, and that’s a good thing. You must seek out the givers and then convince them that you are real deal and then get on the giving path in life.

Look fear in the face and move forward. At some point in life, we are all going to have to stare fear in the face. Perhaps for those of us who have practiced this monthly, weekly, or daily, this task may be easier than for others who avoid doing things that scare them.

“If there is one thing upon this earth that mankind love and admire better than another, it is a brave man, — it is the man who dares to look the devil in the face and tell him he is a devil.” – James A. Garfield

Look at what frightens you, dare to look at that fear, then call it what it truly is, a devil and be brave. You’ll have a short memory, forgetting the bad and only remembering the good.

Be Strong!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury (email me if you like this blog)