My 60th Birthday 9-1-16

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No 36 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 2, 2016

My 60th Birthday!

Today is September 1st and I’m now 60 years old! I started with Arthur Murray October 15, 1975 and what a wonderful dancing life this has been.

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Arthur Murray has taken me around the world and was and has been my school of life. 41 years of dancing, laughing, performing, teaching and having fun have been the fountain of youth for me.

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Yes, my belt size is bigger, my feet are flatter, my knees sound like creaky doors, and my back goes out, but I have stamina and energy when I’m dancing that rivals 20-year old’s! I simply still love to dance.

Birthday Chamber Logo 2016

I always wondered what it would be like to be an older dancer. Well, I certainly am a lot more fun to take a lesson with, because I have learned to love and laugh. I listen to my students because I hurt all over just like they do. And when my students make a mistake, rather than being a rough teacher, I laugh and say “What was that!” and we both laugh until we have to hug each other.  A bit of loving laughter seems to go a lot further in instruction than a reprimand!

My personal teachers are all about 20 years older than I am. They are Arthur Murray legends and they are in such great demand today. They dance, teach, coach, own schools, travel and train others. They are constantly surrounded by young dancers and they have the stamina of much, much younger people. They are my dancing examples and I strive to be just like them in my next 20 years. Imagine, at 60, I have a new 20-year plan. Retirement for me will be to coach full time and train others for the rest of my dancing days.

The new fuel for me is now service. As long as I am giving great service to others, I seem to be OK in my life.  Depression is kept away, darkness and sadness seem to fade away when you are always planning some benefit to help others in some great way. When you always have to be at a meeting and you are giving time to serve, you seem to always be happy.  Also, the people who you are working with are usually just the same and they are happy in giving service to others!

When my daddy passed, his funeral was long with the many, many organizations that came to honor him for his service.  Daddy was a part of so many groups that help others that I sat in amazement as “strangers” to me seemed to know him and love him so very much. Guess what, I’m becoming my dad. I love being surrounded with workers and leaders and find life is rich with joy when I’m around these people. I love being a part of many groups who specialize in changing the lives of others.

Leaders are timeless and ageless. They seem to have great health and happiness. They are known and loved by many others. They seek out new ways to serve and give of their time.  They seem to thrive on the art of donating time to worthy causes.  They seldom complain because they are too busy making a phone call or planning on a committee.

Am I happy at turning 60? Well, I think I have a lot more to learn, and I definitely know that I have a lot more to give. I’d be worried, except I have to finish my city-wide Buy Local event next weekend, and I have a major Hospitality Summit at St. Monica’s the next Saturday followed by a wonderful dance competition the next day. November and December are our busiest months, then we have our Dancing with Our Stars Event in January, Seasons of Love Show in February, then the Sand and Sea Ball in early 2017.

I guess if I’m going to have a pity party, I’ll have to find some time and schedule it, for right now, I’m just too busy to worry about unimportant things in my life.

By the way, time to get moving and motivating others. Thanks for letting me share my wonderful 60th birthday with you all!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

Email me if you like my blogs!

“A Kind Word is Never Thrown Away” 8-19-16

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No 34 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 19, 2016

“A Kind Word is Never Thrown Away”

“Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.”- Arthur Helps (1813 – 1875) English Historian and Novelist

My mom, J. Clair Woodbury, taught me a great lesson. She said that immediately when you meet someone, find what you like about them and build an empire on that one thing. It is a wonderful way to life and spreads light and love to all. I see someone and I like their hair, their clothes, their smile, their handshake, their scent, their laugh. Then I TELL them I like that special quality about them. I then go on a treasure hunt for more diamonds of things I like about them.

What I have found is that, just like J. Clair, I never know a stranger. I’ve met strangers and we have entered into full conversations as if we have known one another for a lifetime. In public I have had many such meaningful conversations with total strangers that ended with a handshake, a hug, or a kiss. We just connected.

The other secret ingredient is a smile.  Recently, I was the front usher at the 7:30 mass. I was positioned at the altar, next to the organ, and my job is to help anyone who needs assistance. I was standing with my best Arthur Murray posture ready to assist, and an older parishioner sitting in the 3rd row loudly said, “Hey David, could you crack a smile!” His words echoed in the 1000 seat sanctuary. Wow, I was sure my face had turned beet red and I quickly put a smile on. I realized that being Visible, Easy, Useful and Ready was not enough. I had to look the part as well.

Needless to say, I always smile at mass now. I always say “Thank you” when passing the baskets and I greet everyone with a smile. This is called “The Habit of Happiness” and is truly a lifestyle.

“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”- Adam Smith (1723-1790)

Do I want to be happy, yes! How is that every going to happen? Well get this, it’s by making others happy. That’s the only way for me. When someone irritates me, I quickly realize that I am seeing something in myself that I don’t like, and I must pull the speck out of my own eye before pulling the plank out of the other person’s eye. When someone comes up to me in an angry state, they are usually not angry with me, they are having a bad day, a flat tire, a rough day at work and they need a good word from me and a listening ear.

I’ll never have a tough skin, I’m too sensitive, but I can laugh a lot and smile a lot and that has done wonders in my life.

“Great is the road I climb, but the garland offered by an easier effort is not worth the gathering.”- Sextus Propertius, (50BC – 16AD) Roman Poet

Life will never be easy, but it sure can be a lot more fun if those around us are happier. Give a good word to someone else today. Throw on an unresistable smile. Lay a great sincere compliment on someone. And don’t stop until they are smiling with you. You’ll thank me and they will love you for it.


Ending this blog with a big smile!

Keep on Trying! 8-12-16


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No 33 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 12, 2016

Keep on Trying!

“But try,” you urge, “the trying shall suffice; The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life: Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate!”- Robert Browning

Do you ever want to give up? What a horrible question from me a motivator. You might be saying, “Oh, never. How could you ever ask that!” Well, I have been discouraged before and still experience challenges when it comes to keeping my Try-O-Meter on high every day.

Sometimes I see the road as long and I feel as if I’m driving through the desert! My personality is that I live for success. I am a successful person. I know how to make it happen and I’m a hard worker. Every day I only see opportunities to grow and realize my dreams. That way of thinking is the only way for me.

Many dancers who are in the top 6 have arrived because they never gave up. They started off as new pros and competed many, many times until they worked their way up from quarter finals, semi-finals, to the finals to being in the top three, to winning! They weathered all the wins and losses and never let go of their dreams. Then at the top, they continue to train and strive for success and perfection in their dancing. They then help the other new dancers on their paths of success as champions.

“The saints are the sinners who keep on going.”- Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish Novelist

Because I am Southern, and from Southern parents, I always feel guilty. I always know that I am be biggest sinner of them all and undeserving sometimes. My mother’s middle name was “I’m sorry” and she was always apologizing for everything all the time.  It’s a thing from the South, but it never goes away. Not that my mom and didn’t know how to laugh and enjoy life, we just felt a bit guilty because we laughed so hard and often!

Weather I am a saint or a sinner, weather I deserve what I have or not, I just keep on going and I don’t give up. I cannot stand quitters and I just will never throw in the towel. Success comes to those who make it to the end, and they keep the success because it was fought for and was won in the battle of life.

“Remember that if the opportunities for great deeds should never come, the opportunities for good deeds are renewed day by day. The thing for us to long for is the goodness, not the glory.” – F.W. Faber

Not going for the glory is tough for me. I love the spotlight and the fame. Yet, many of the stars I know in my life are also the nicest people on the planet and they have maintained their goodness with their greatness. I love the fact that opportunities are renewed day by day, and that each new day is a new beginning.

If you read my blogs, I just pour out my heart that we have to all keep going in our lives and not give up. Why, because when we succeed, we carry someone with us over the finish line and help them to finish. At the end of a 5K or 10K race, tired and spent, you will see everyone sprinting to the end and they want to pass everyone running up to the huge FINISH sign.  It’s funny, at the end of a race, everyone is smiling for the keepsake photo, no matter how you feel, there is a big smile, then as you walk through the finish line, someone puts a medal around your neck and you truly feel great. You made it!

Please don’t give in or give up. I know that I am taking others with me on the road to success and I just cannot give into anything but the fact that we ALL are going to make it in our lives.

Put your arms out and “bring a friend” to the finish line in their life. You’ll find it’s worth every step of the way!

Keep On Dancing!

David Woodbury (email me if you like my blogs!)

A Passionate Sense of the Potential 8-5-16

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No 32 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Passionate Sense of the Potential

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible…what wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating, as possibility!”- Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855) Danish Philosopher

There are some people in my life who electrify me. They are charismatic and are visionaries. Even an email from one of them gives me a chill, a laugh, a tear, a pause, a moment of rest, a ray of sunlight. There are those in my life who move me just by watching them in action. They cast a beam of light wherever they go.  And to talk to them, they are humble and do not feel their calling to serve others is anything less than a wonderful blessing.

“Surround yourself with people you want to become like”.  Now as I look around me, at the circle of the great pillars of strength in my life, I am surrounded with great leaders, mentors, givers, actuators, organizers, thinkers, inspirers, innovators, guides, teachers, examples of a good life, motivators, uplifters, guides, supporters, and humble servants. Yes, I do want to become just like those who surround me with their love and support.

Dancers always ask me “How do I get better in my dancing?” My answer is always the same, get on the dance floor and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Enter a dance competition. Scare yourself silly and dance in front of a 200-person crowd dancing a solo exhibition with your partner. Get out there and dance!

Do you know when you are ready to do an exhibition? It’s the moment you walk off the floor, for your first thought is “I wish I could dance that over again”. And you will dance it over again many times.

The best part of being on the competitive dance floor is that you are surrounded by great dancers and they pull your skill level up to new heights! A dance showcase is worth 50 lessons, for you come back a different, transformed dancer.  A major dance competition, one over 3 to 5 days, is in itself worth 100 personal sessions. You come back twice the dancer you were when you left, and you are then ready to tackle a new dance adventure. Your confidence is solid and your vision of your dancing is clear!

For the ‘passionate sense of the potential’, I feel it so strongly that it eats me up. Sometimes this passion is like a burning heat and consumes me. I’d rather feel passion for life every moment that to go through life without feeling and a strong sense of direction.

I have a friend who is lost. Completely lost. Not sure what to do, when to do it, how to do it, or even why to do it. They are beyond my help at this point and I just try to live a life of example for them. Every day I try to give a smile, a great word of direction and never cast a cloud of uncertainty or blame.  I remember when I was lost and I remember those who pulled me through it, and those that hindered me. To this day, I am full or gratitude for those who kept my light burning through the ‘dark night of the soul’.

“Tough times never last. Tough people do.”- Robert Schuller (1926) American Minister, Evangelist

Never envy others. Who knows, you might end up with what they have you might be miserable with what they have. The money, good looks, the luck, the family, the education, the possessions. You never know what it is like to be someone else so just remember that any rough time you might be having will pass, and you’ll be stronger for going through it.

I’ll leave you with this thought. “It will get better” You’ll make it. You’ll succeed. You’ll see light again. You’ll be alright and OK very soon! I love you. I believe in you. My heart goes out to you to share with you that it’s OK to see in life what is sparkling, fragrant, intoxicating.

Live it up, today is a miracle!

Keep On Dancing!

David Woodbury (email me if you like my blogs!)


Whatever you do, do it well. 7-28-16

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No 31 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 29, 2016

Whatever you do, do it well.

Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” – Walt Disney

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Talk about living your dreams, been to Disneyland recently? The parks are always expanding, growing, innovating, renewing, re-planning, and maintaining the classics. This success did not come overnight and took 60 years to refine. I think that in today’s world, we want success too quickly. We want “to go viral” overnight, and that’s just not how it usually happens.

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“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”- Leo Jozef Cardinal Suenens (1904 – 1996) Belgian Archbishop

Why doesn’t everyone follow their dreams? Mainly it is when the price of the dream comes into play. The price is not always monetary, it is usually dedication, persistence, and hard work. “Going the extra mile” is a currency that few have in their pocketbooks. Also, the price of a dream is being resilient when the rough times come your way, and most of all, how one acts when success hits. Does it change you? Do you relax? Does the dream fade with success?

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“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?'”- George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) Irish Playwright

Perhaps George Bernard Shaw had courage to dream things that never were. Perhaps he had problems with his hearing when others said “No” to him and he could not accomplish his goals and aspirations.

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“Man has never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.”- Bernard Williams (1929 – 2003) English Philosopher

The human spirit is strong. It is frightening how powerful we all are and can be. We all have superhuman strength that lies deep inside of all of us. The only thing that will keep us from being strong is fear, and yet it is often fear that makes us stronger and makes us take action in our lives.

“When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new. This restless craving in the souls of men spurs them to climb, and to seek the mountain view.”- Ella Wheeler Wilcox


When we begin to say “why not” we will then begin to crave the view from the mountain. I love to be high and look out. I love Google Earth and Google Maps. I love to see from above. I often travel around the world on my desktop and “see” the world from the top. It takes a long time to climb to the pinnacle in life, but the journey is worth it and it is life changing.

“The greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising up every time we fall.”- Confucius, (551 – 479 BC) Chinese Philosopher

May I encourage you to start your journey to the top. Will you falter? Yes. Will you have trials and failures and discouragements? Yes. Don’t let this stop you and persist with your dreams and keep picking yourself up. We are alive for a purpose and that purpose is to keep on going and moving forward. As you read this, I send you faith, hope and encouragement. You will make it. You will succeed. You will achieve. Keep on!

Keep On Dancing!

David Woodbury (email me if you like my blogs!)



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Freedom; Justice; Honor; Duty; Mercy; Hope 7-22-16

No 30 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 22, 2016

Joel and David Unique 2016 Logo

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.”- Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British Politician

I found out that I’m a bit old fashioned. I arrive at the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Santa Monica every day with a new sense of hope and knowing that each day is a fresh and exciting opportunity for growth and success. I’m filled with light and look forward to the promise of doing my best in every area of my life. I have passion, vision, and feel it is an honor to be dancing for so many years with Arthur Murray.

Someone told me I was “the exception” to today’s world. They said I was not like the normal crowd. I listened with wide eyes and a sinking heart. Their words surprised me. This is why. I was always told “Surround yourself with people you want to become like” in every way. And as of today, my immediate circle of mentors are the great people, the visionaries, the leaders, the trainers, the givers and organizers. The dreamers and the people who are passionate about life and they have a white hot passion for what they do. That is my circle of life.

Not in my past 41 years of dancing was I ever told that I could not do something. Yes, I was told my Tango was bad and I did a bad Swing, but I fixed those problems.  I have been corrected in many ways over the years, but was never taught that failure was an option. My heroes in life have always guided me and directed me to success in every area of the dance world.

“To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.” – Bette Davis (1908 – 1989) American Actress

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” – Leo Jozef Cardinal Suenens (1904 – 1996) Belgian Archbishop

Team Santa Monica Unique DOR 2016 Logo

To be given the freedom and the opportunity of having career where I get to be creative every day, grow as a leader and as a teacher, be a mentor to others, share knowledge with others, these have all been my bread and butter in my career.  Imagine that my job title is to inspire others and to always think on how to be better and more creative. On top of that, I am surrounded with likeminded friends who collaborate and we create the “Master Mind” that we use for ultimate success!

“Man has never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bernard Williams (1929 – 2003) English Philosopher

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?'”– George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) Irish Playwright

Many times in my life, including now, I am dreaming big things that are often hard and require herculean effort. But I have my dad’s constitution and my mother’s emotional power and I am wired for a strong human spirit.

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“The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are; first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third, common sense.” – Thomas A. Edison (1847 – 1931) American Inventor

Let’s use these three ingredients and see what happens to make our dreams come true:

Hard work. Show up, do your best, seek to do more, help others!

Stick-to-it-iveness. Don’t give up. Quit complaining. Count your blessings. Keep on!

Common sense. This is my motto: “It will get better”. Make good choices and seek wisdom.

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Drill through the rock of inertia and get moving, get going, turn your dreams into reality!

Keep On Dancing!

David Woodbury (email me if you like my blogs!)

Jury Duty 7-15-16

No 29 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 15, 2016

Jury Duty

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The week before and after July 4th holiday I was on jury duty on a criminal case. When my jury summons arrived, I felt my heart sink. I was called to downtown LA court from Santa Monica and I tried many calls to change to change courts with no phone calls being answered. I gave in and registered to serve in Los Angeles.

Having just used the brand new Expo line to downtown, I knew that I could take the train to court every day. The pre-recorded message began to list the 5 downtown street closures so I knew the train was good for me.  I do not have a fear of public speaking or dancing in front of hundreds, but I have a problem driving somewhere I’m not familiar. The looking and listening to the lady on Google Maps drives me nuts, and how are you supposed to drive in downtown traffic looking at your phone?

Having to be downtown early the first day was tough, for I had called in each day just to hear I did not have to go, then on Thursday, the recording said YES! I dressed in my best Arthur Murray suit and went down.

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What an unhappy group of prospective jurors! We first waited, then we were called, then we went into to court for final jury selection. Some tried to get out of it. The judge warned us that if we acted trained from YouTube videos on how to avoid service, that he would send us to a 3-week civil case!

When I was interviewed, the judge asked what I did and I proudly answered that I owned an Arthur Murray Dance Center and had been dancing for 41 years. He asked if I liked my work and I said I loved my career!

After many hours of selection, I was one of the 12. The second day the Prosecution asked me about my one-word self-description that I had given the first day which was “Service”. She asked me why I said that, and I responded that at my funeral I want it to be said I lived a life of service for others.  Then, she commented on my attire of wearing a suit for the second day. I responded that I was an Arthur Murray professional and that is how I always dressed.

Two days of testimony wore us down, being a total of 4 days in court by then.  On the second day, on the breaks, I played Salsa music on my phone and started dancing in the main hall. Guess what, people smiled back at me. I openly danced and was asking everyone for a chance to teach a Salsa class to our jury.

We took a 5th day to finish testimony then go to the deliberation room. For the first time, everyone said on the break “Now we can have our Salsa class!”  We were all so tired from the stress that I openly danced in the corridor during every break. By the last and 6th day, I finally got my chance to openly dance with some of the jurors! The bailiff said, “I’m ready to dance with you as well!” but we were all then called in to court.

We ended up a hung jury and it was truly stressful. Leaving at 8:30 AM, returning to the school at 6 PM directly from the train and dancing to 10 PM or later had taken a physical toll on my mind, heart and body! What saved me was the dancing and the laughter. Yes, I took my Arthur Murray fun to court and shared the love of dancing with everyone I came in contact with.

Keep On Dancing!

David Woodbury (email me if you like my blogs!)