Make Your Own Circumstances 11-4-16

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No 45 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 4, 2016

Make Your Own Circumstances

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) Irish Playwright

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We think, “Oh, they have it so easy in their life. Money, family, opportunity. It was all given to them.” Yes, it may seem that others have it easy and we have it hard, but get this. We have the best in our own lives if we just look up and see all the great things around us.

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I’m a blamer and I get jealous of other’s success. I think, “That should have been me”, “I can do that, what didn’t that success come to me?”. The reality is that we are all truly living in our own great success. We have control over our circumstances and we have the ability to make opportunities come our way. We never truly know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes.  The funny thing is this, often the ones we are envying are looking at us and saying, “Wow, they have all the luck” for they see the good in our lives that we are unable visualize.

“Trials, temptations, disappointments — all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.” – James Buckham (1844 – 1930) Canadian lumberman and Liberal politician

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Why do our diet and exercise programs fail? Once it gets a bit hard, or requires extra energy, or tests our character, we give in. The temptations are overwhelming and we just do not have the strength to overcome the trials. We just give into our present circumstances and cannot pull up.

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Do you know how a world class ballroom dance couple makes it to the top? Is it talent, luck, or is it just given to them? The answer is simple, the best couples have worked the hardest, practices the longest and have earned their ranking through many trials and failures. Their successes are precious and sweet, and they have hearts of gratitude for the glory given to them. They made their own circumstance and created their own opportunity and stayed with it to the top.

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“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.” – Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970) American Football Coach

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It’s easy to stay down after being knocked down over and over. Yet, as Vince Lombardi says, coming back is the real glory. I’d like to just get up and stay up, but as Waltz has rise and fall, and Tango is staccato with starts and stops, and Swing has its turns and spins, and Samba has a bounce, blessedly there is the Foxtrot that is smooth and glides across the floor. I wish you, the reader a few Foxtrot days, but also enjoy your Tango days, and keep on coming back!

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Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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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

Never Give Up 2-27-15

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No 9. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 27, 2015

David Woodbury

Never Give Up!

Being defeated is often only a temporary condition. Giving up is what
makes it permanent.– Marilyn vos Savant  1946-NA

There is a sense of exhilaration that comes from facing head-on the
hard truths and saying, “We will never give up. We will never
capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to
prevail.”– Jim Collins, from his book, Good to Great

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.– Babe Ruth

I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.– Florence Nightingale

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The day after we signed our lease for the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Santa Monica,

I had 10 workmen in the studio at 8 AM the next morning.

The electricians were working in the back of the new studio. At 8:15 I was startled as Carlos came running up to the front yelling in Spanish and dripping wet from head to toe. I ran to the back and Carlos had cut through the building’s water main and the space was flooding!

We were all yelling and the men began pulling out ceiling tiles and looking for the cut off valves. We turned every valve we could find off and finally the water stopped.  The back of our now ballroom was flooded, the walls were ruined, and carpet was damaged, and water was flowing into the building’s basement.

Being my mother’s son, I stopped everyone and paused. “Is everyone OK?” I asked.

They all said yes. The plumber began his assessment to fix the pipe. I said “Let’s thank God we are all OK and continue our work.”

That was in the first 15 minutes of the build out.  In 33 days, we were done with paint, plumbing, electrical, flooring, music and furniture and we opened Arthur Murray in Santa Monica.

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Did I give up?  NO! Was I shaken, YES.  Have I felt defeated at times? I think that with so much responsibility, we all feel defeated every once in a while. But I did find a way to prevail and make it happen.

Has the studio grown? Why YES! We are 100% better this year over our startup year. Has it been fast enough for me? I plead the 5th on that question.

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This is my reality. I am accountable and not a victim.  Everything in my life has led to this moment in time for me.  The good, the bad. The challenges and the victories, all have made me the successful man that I am today. I do not have excuses, I have opportunities and open doors wherever I look. It seems that every day I enter the studio, something wonderful happens each day to make our studio even more fantastic than it already was.  My great partners, our incredible staff, and our beautiful students.

Life is short. We are breathing; we have food, a place to sleep, faith, family, friends. We are all so blessed. No, I will not give up, today, tomorrow, or in the future.

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Never give up, never give in. Be a lighthouse for those around you. Be the leader and mentor that others are looking for. Become a hero for someone who needs a boost and a friend to someone who needs guidance.

Never give up.

David Woodbury