Optimism is Essential – February 26, 2016

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No 9 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 27, 2016

Optimism is Essential…

“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.” – Nicholas Murray Butler

Everywhere around us we are met with challenges. Even those who seem to ‘have it all’ have obstacles that they must overcome. Never envy the other person, or you might have to walk in their shoes. Some days my ‘opportunities’ seem never-ending and courage seems to flee from me, yet time marches on and I make it through my encounters. Perhaps optimism is just us going on and doing our best every day. Perhaps the prize goes to the brave souls who go the whole distance.

“Give us, O give us, the man who sings at his work! Be his occupation what it may, he is equal to any of those who follow the same pursuit in silent sullenness. He will do more in the same time — he will do it better, he will persevere longer. One is scarcely sensible of fatigue whilst he marches (dances) to music.” – Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish Writer

All my over 40 years with Arthur Murray, I have seen the best workers in the world. Dancers who just love every aspect of their lives. An unparalleled work ethic that is humbling to the average person. Dancers who come in early, practice late, get a day’s worth of choreography done in an hour. They are too busy to feel fatigue and the joy of dancing replenishes their spirits. What is truly amazing are my teachers who have had the same work ethic for many, many decades and continue strong after a half century of devotion to dance. They are unstoppable.

“I don’t like work… but I like what is in work — the chance to find yourself. Your own reality — for yourself, not for others — which no other man can ever know.” – Joseph Conrad

Perhaps no one truly loves working a 12 to 14-hour day, week in and week out, but no one ever thinks of their doctor working 3 day shifts, your accountant sleeping 2-3 hours a night in April, the driver who is guiding your tour bus overnight, or the pilot who is flying you across the world on a 14-hour flight. It must be the reward of the job well done, the feeling of accomplishment, or the fact that they truly find their best selves in their works each day. They truly know their champion selves for they see the fruits of their well-earned labor weekly, sometimes daily.

Optimism is not a gift, it is a habit gained through actions, positive actions. We’ll never understand a sunrise until we have gone through a dark night. We’ll never truly appreciate a rest until we have spent our energies in a longtime endeavor. I chose to have optimism. I chose to be positive. I chose to not give up.

Just like ballroom dancing, we get out of it what we put into it. The practice, perseverance, preparation, and patience are habits that make us champions. Any champion who is at the top has overcome failure, disappointment, and defeat. The reason they are superstars is that every setback only made them better and stronger. Live in the moment and remember “it will get better”.

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com (email me if you like this blog)

The Ideal that you Enthrone in your Heart 8-21-15

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No 34. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, August 21, 2015

The Ideal that you enthrone in your heart.

The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone
in your heart – this you will build your life by, and this you will
become. — James Lane Allen (1849-1925) American Author

Do you have dreams in your life? Do they haunt you daily? Do you think of them all the time? What are your first thoughts when you are going to sleep? What are your first thoughts upon awakening? Do you have regrets about what you are doing in your life? Are you living your life dream?

Patience is passion tamed.
— Lyman Abbott

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I am not a patient person. I want everything now and I feel as if I have paid my dues and that I am entitled to success in every area of my life. Oh my goodness, I’m 59 and I’m thinking as a millennial! What has happened to me? Why do I always think that everything that I touch will be a great success? Why do I think that all my dreams are going to come true? Why, because I believe in passion. I am willing to pay the price for success and that vision has truly enthroned in my heart.

There are some old sayings, “Become the person you want to be with” “Surround yourself with people you want to become like”. If you want to find that perfect person in your life, successful, charismatic, rich, powerful, smart, creative, then become that person in every aspect. Like will attract like. Look around you at all your friends. Look at where they are in their lives, what they have, do, give, how they think, live, and interact with others. Guess what? You will become just like the circle of friends you surround yourself with each and every day.

When you find a champion ballroom dancing couple, you can bet and win that their immediate friends are successful dancers, champions who are now judges, successful dance school owners, and fantastic people. Their families support them, their friends are all accomplished in their lives, and they themselves are “living the dream” after many, many years of practice, preparation, and perseverance.

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Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing
things as they ought to be done.– Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) American Novelist

My business partner, Gabriela Young, recently commented to me about the use of common sense. To be successful today, along with doing all the right things, it helps to have a lot of common sense and to use that knowledge. Do the right thing the first time.

Right actions for the future are the best apologies for wrong ones in
the past.– Tyron Edwards

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As it is said “Hindsight is 20/20”. Think before speaking and think before taking action. I love to use MailChimp. After all your preparation of your email, art, content, and proofreading it over and over, then you read to send your precious message to 300 of your favorite friends. Just before sending your email, an animated chimp is poised to press the send button, and sweat is dripping from his face. The longer you wait the more he sweats and the more you doubt yourself, and eventually, you cancel your send and proofread again. This has saved me from sending a unedited email many, many times. You want to be sure you have not made a mistake.

Many ideas have enthroned my heart. They all seem so hard in the beginning. “Oh my, how am I going to get all this done?” And now, I think, “I could be doing a lot more”. You get into “Dream Shape” and you are able to get more done to live and realize your dreams. Remember, the thoughts you have today will be your realities of tomorrow.

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Live your dreams, Become your dreams!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

Now what….? by Gabriela Young


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

The Legend of the Noble Bamboo 4-10-15

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No 15. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Legend of the Noble Bamboo

The Thais have a wonderful legend about the bamboo plant. In the beginning, the Bamboo was the most beautiful plant of all. But in the corners of the garden, there were dry beds. A spring in the center of the gardens could not reach to the dry earth.

The Master of the garden called the great Bamboo to be used for a special purpose. The Master cut down the Bamboo and hacked off its branches and stripped it of its leaves, cleaved him into and then cut out his heart. The Master laid one end of the Bamboo at the spring and then laid out the Bamboo’s torn open body end to end, as a channel for water reaching to the dry ground, flowing to the edges of the garden. The now watered ground yielded a great harvest.

The once glorious Bamboo became even more glorious in his brokenness and humility. It is clear to me that I can have everything I want in my life if I am willing to help get others what they want in life. Also, for me to be the leader I want to become, I must become a servant to all, learning how to give to others.

We have high hopes and dreams. We are the greatest and most beautiful plant in the garden of life, and then we are called into service. We are cut down, stripped, cleaved into and our hearts are cut out. If you don’t believe this, you haven’t lived long enough. Life will test us and call us into service at some point.

Do you want to be a dance champion? Be ready for all the practice, and the practice, and the practice. The many, many lessons. The physical grooming and changes in diet and exercise, meditation and time management. The commitment that must be made to another person, to your dancing, to your coach. Being able to get through four rounds to get to a final and still be at your best, trying to win the competition.

For an amateur dancer, you find your dream Arthur Murray Dance Center, your best Arthur Murray Pro Partner. You master the closed patterns and technique in your level and then you perfect your open category and scholarship dancing. For the Arthur Murray Professional, you master your dancing skills, certify through the highest levels, compete professionally, achieve the highest levels in the Arthur Murray world, and you mentor other dancers. It is not a job, or a career, it is a lifestyle!

The great coaches in the world are sometimes great with years. You see someone in their 70’s walk in and they are your coach. You begin dancing with them, and suddenly your coach is once again young and they can out dance you. They have amazing style, technique, poise, and grace. You feel your dancing go up to a new level and at the end, you have found a new dancing mentor.

Remember the great Bamboo and what he experienced first being the most glorious plant in the garden, to becoming the most humble and useful plant in the garden. Be ready to let the water of life flow through you to nurture others and to help them yield a great harvest.

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

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