No 17 4-27-18 “A Failure is a Mark of Experience”

SQA Winners 2018

“In Silicon Valley, failure is experience. Now, if you fail at everything, that’s different. But a failure is a mark of experience more than anything.”

– Vint Cerf, One of the Key Creators of the Internet

Today, Arthur Murray Santa Monica won the Sustainable Quality Award in Excellence in Social Responsibility. This is our second SQA award and we were honored to receive this special recognition!


We won in 2016, but we lost in 2017. I was broken hearted to lose. We had done so much in the community and our application was not up to the standards to win that year. I truly felt as if I had failed and I truly took it to heart as we saw so many other businesses in Santa Monica come forth to accept their winner’s awards.


This year, our writer was Joel Rieck, and we won from his great essay and his superb writing skills for our application. We had done all the same work as the past year, but Joel did an outstanding job in presenting our acts of service and all our involvement in giving back to Santa Monica.


Being in the winner’s circle was very sweet after failing and not winning. As quoted above, the failure became a mark of experience and we learned from it, and that pushed us forward to achieve success and win.


Last year someone wanted to buy our school from us. This came out of the blue and I shook us up. I knew we could be doing much better, and I was recovering from a heart scare and getting back my health.


I thought, why does someone want to purchase our school? Then I gave a very sober and thoughtful look at what we had created.  We had a great location, wonderful and dedicated staff, and the best Arthur Murray Students anyone could ever hope to have. We had created a special branding of the Arthur Murray name in Santa Monica and the whole city knew about our great school.

In 4 short years, we had created a legacy of Arthur Murray returning to the city of Santa Monica. The value of the school became an overwhelming thought to me and I then said, instead of selling, why don’t I just double our success and recharge our energy? And guess what, we DID just that. We excelled in every area and ended up a top school in many areas for Arthur Murray for 2017!

I had not failed, but I had not fully opened my eyes to our true success and our great possibilities of growth. Perhaps my past ‘marks of experience’ had given me strength, wisdom, hope, vision, and a new excitement to achieve and hit new great goals.

Now, I see a fantastic future for 2018 and we are living our dream of success with much, much more to come. With all achievements will come the storms of life, and the trials and tribulations of life will test us to our very cores. But with failures, lessons learned, and life lessons, the experience we gain will take us to the winner’s circle.

Thanks for reading,

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

FB: David Earl Woodbury



No 47 11-24-17 A Time to be Thankful!

No 47 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Time to be Thankful!

This time of year I’m the luckiest guy on the planet. I’ve just started my 42nd year with Arthur Murray Dance Centers. I am happily married and lucky in love with a great home life and two wonderful kitties. My faith life is strong at St. Monica’s and I am happy to be serving for many years now at my parish.

My health was not good this past year and was my own fault. It’s getting better and I have a way to go to my optimum health at 61. I always say “Your health is your wealth” and I am trying to make some changes in my diet and exercise life!

My associate with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has now put me on the Board of the Chamber as well as on several committees and being an Ambassador for the Chamber.

For personal goals I am looking forward, God willing, to 20 more years of dancing and being with Arthur Murray. After all these years, I now know a couple of good things to help others in the dance world. I look forward to life and to making our school stronger and stronger.

I take refuge in my faith and am fortunate to be serving and helping others on a regular basis. All the Hospitality Ministers confess that we serve so we will be sure to go to mass! For me, it keeps me out of trouble and keeps my heart and life in check!

What to be thankful for? I always heard it said that waking up in the morning was a great blessing and now in my early 60’s, it truly is a blessing. To be given the opportunity to life another day and grow and experience the challenges and blessings of life again is amazing!

The hard times, well, I think that if I can just keep on helping others and helping others grow that my eyes will not rest on the bad in life, but in the infinite possibilities of good and the blessing of being a mentor to others.

The good times, I just don’t look for them anymore. To me, every day is a good day. I use to live for the weekends and time to myself, and now I love sharing my gifts and time with others. I do not look for tomorrow to be better than today, but look to be my better self in the moment and making today a winning day.

With just a few twists in life, I could be out of the streets and not in my home of 29 years. I know that living in the moment is the greatest blessing and the greatest possession I can have. Everything could be gone tomorrow, so I want to make my mark today.

Is your heart full this Thanksgiving? My heart is full of hope, thankfulness for so much that live has given to me, and a clear vision of the future. My mom, J. Clair, always said “Keep a little song in your heart”. I am singing my way now through life thanks to her great advice!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!











No 39. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 18, 2015

An Amazing Week!
Usually I give you several great quotes from a wonderful week of reading and study. But today I have to write about my week.

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Last Saturday, I was Co-Chair for the stages of the Wellbeing Buy Local Festival of Santa Monica.  We had thousands of visitors come to the Festival. What an exciting day! We had a 100 booths and presenters. We had two stages each with a producer, emcees, and a full schedule of groups on each stage with presentations.


I was emcee for the Wellbeing stage and Arthur Murray Dance Center of Santa Monica was on stage for a full hour. We taught two classes, had a dance competition and we produced a full show with our fantastic staff.


We ended the day with yours truly dancing with Laurel Rosen, our Santa Monica Chamber CEO and President, dancing a Swing Routine. It was so much fun and Laurel is a natural dancer. We hit the ball out of the park!

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Arthur Murray was all over the festival with our inspiring booth and all the new friends we met who are now coming in for lessons. And this was just a Saturday!

That Sunday, I was Team Leader for the 7:30 AM Mass. This is an honor for me and I was happy to guide our great team to help our 7:30 parishioner have a safe, clean, cool, and organized place to worship and gather. What a wonderful Sunday morning.

Wednesday, we started our Fall Youth Program in our school. What a wonderful way to start our Fall season of dancing. They youth kids will dance for 8 weeks and end with a special performance. Here’s to our great group of young dancers.

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Wednesday night, Joel Rieck, Maria Leon, and I took some exciting dancing to the Lime Café for the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Mixer. We are a recent Green Certified Business and we were featured to share about our greening process. Then, Arthur Murray was in the house. We taught our first group class of Swing. The dancing was a bit hit.

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We then had a bit of a break at this Zero Waste event. Then, Arthur Murray took over the floor. We taught three line dances, Salsa, and then we went crazy with some Hustle Dancing!  What a great group and we had a ball dancing the night away the Arthur Murray Way with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and with Sustainable Works from the City of Santa Monica.  I left on a high and am still floating on the fun we had.  Laurel Rosen and I danced our Swing spotlight again and we shared the last dance together. We were creating Golden Moments that would last a lifetime.

Today, Joel Rieck and I started our first Enrichment Program Ballroom Dance Class at St. Monica Elementary School. We taught a wonderful group of youths and our Fall Semester dances are Foxtrot and Swing. What a blessing to be on the campus of this parish that has over nine thousand registered families. We taught and danced our little hearts out and we can’t wait for next week to dance again.

This is on top of just being in our amazing school, with our inspiring staff, and our precious students, dancing, dancing, and dancing our way to health, fun, and happiness!

It has been such an amazing week, I just had to share it with you.  Walk in light. Live with an attitude of gratitude. Love life, experience each moment to the fullest. Go with change and ride the crest of the wave of life.

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

Impossible, then improbable, then inevitable. 4-23-15

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No 17. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, April 24, 2015

At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.
— Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) American Actor

It seems that every day, I am amazed by what’s happening around me. We’re owners of an Arthur Murray Dance Center in Santa Monica. We are active members in the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, and EVERYONE in business knows that Arthur Murray is in Santa Monica. We are blessed with active service at St. Monica Parish Community and given every possible opportunity to serve. Our franchisor, Arthur Murray Int’l, Inc., has showered us with opportunities to grow, participate, learn and prosper.

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The doors that are opening all around us open up to endless possibilities of a fantastic life of service and dancing. Funny, a few years this all seemed impossible, yes improbable, then finally inevitable. God opened the doors and we walked through on a pathway of hard work, faith, and determination.

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.
— Walt Disney (1901-1966) American Animator and Film Maker

I loved to walk around Disneyland. Just imagine that it was all just an orange grove that was transformed by one man’s dream and vision. That vision continues today many years after Walt’s passing. Walt Disney made the impossible come true.

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Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.
— Harvey Fierstein

As I sometimes try to catch my breath with all that is happening around me, I look for how this wonderful life is defining me. How will I be remembered? What legacy will I leave behind? I want this said at my memorial service, “I am happy to serve”. And that’s the truth. I’m happy to give back after such a miraculous life of constantly receiving blessings from others in every area of my life.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an
invincible summer. — Albert Camus (1913-1960) French Writer

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Have there been rough times? Yes. Do I intimately know about the “Dark Night of the Soul”? Yes. Yet during the darkest days of my life, I truly found my greatest calling in life and I hope to go on to help others find their callings in their lives and to be a light and a living example to all who are growing and learning.

Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in
the end because they’ve stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and
commitments.– Kevin Costner (1955-) American Actor, Producer and Director

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Take a minute and look at the extraordinary life all around you. Pause and think of all of those who got you to where you are today. Let a moment of excitement go through you as you think of all the possibilities that are ahead for you. Then, stay true to who you are and give others the same hope that is in your heart.

Thank you,
David Woodbury

12-26-14 New Year’s Resolutions – David Woodbury

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No 52 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 26, 2014

New Year’s Arthur Murray Resolutions!

My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She
said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and
worked hard and done the best that is within you.  Success is being
praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying.
Always aim for achievement and forget about success.– Helen Hayes (b. Brown) (1900-1993) American Stage/Film Actress

Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage
unless you’re scared.– Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973) American Aviator and Business Executive

The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity.
Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a
section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.– Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) Military Commander and 34th US President

What do I want in 2015? I want to be a better person and be able to help others achieve their goals. I have been given to ability to train, teach, write, motivate, dance, organize and generally have so much energy that I think sometimes I’m going to burst!

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I know how to set goals and make them come true. These 39 wonderful years with Arthur Murray I have been surrounded by the best dancers, instructors, franchisees, and overall mentors that call our company home. Now, my circle of mentors are all the greatest leaders, advisers, and motivators in the world. All I have to do is look around in a circle and I am surrounded by those who say “Yes, you can realized your dreams” Believe and your will achieve your goals” “Work hard, train hard, and enjoy great success” “Give back to others and become a mentor to others”.

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My New Year’s Resolution first to take better care of my health, so that I may be of better service to others. Secondly, to watch what enters my mind and thoughts and realize that my thoughts become my realities. Thirdly, to continue studying the great motivational works of others and continue learning leadership from their example. Lastly, to live my life through a life of service and giving back with the great gifts that have been entrusted to me.

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On Christmas Eve, I had an epiphany. I realized that all the many, many masses that I have attended that had blessed me so, that there was an army of volunteers making sure my experience was perfect. There was someone who provided a clean and comfortable place to worship, someone who greeted me at the door and gave me a song sheet and ushered me to a seat. Someone who passed a basket for my offering and then “magically” was a steward of that money. There was a choir, there were musicians, there were lectors and Eucharistic Ministers. Someone (a couple of hundred) had decorated the church. There was a homily given and someone somewhere led me to communion. There was someone at the door to give me an inspirational booklet, a smile, and a special salutation.

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For decades of my life I took all that for granted, and now I am called to serve and be a leader. That calling is not just for worship, but to serve at our Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, lead our fantastic Arthur Murray Dance Center in Santa Monica, be the best Guest Director for Arthur Murray Int’l, Inc.! The need to be an example for young people is critical in today’s world. Young people are looking for answers and they need to see leaders who not only have the answers, but are examples of how to live as leaders.

These goals start today. I am calling you to switch from that person sitting in the pew where I sat for years. Stand up, look around, find the leader who is in charge and walk up to them. Say this “May I help out?” and your world will change, this I promise you. Thanks Dan Schwala, my brother!


David Woodbury

Next Week: Have the Greatest Year in Your Life!

Santa Monica One Year Anniversary 11-7-14

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No 44 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 7, 2014

Our One Year Anniversary

Destiny, I feel, is also a relationship – a play between divine grace
and willful self-effort. Half of it you have no control over; half of
it is absolutely in your hands, and your actions will show
measurable consequence. Man is neither entirely a puppet of the Gods,
nor is he entirely the captain of his own destiny; he’s a little of
both. We gallop through life like circus performers balancing on two
speeding side by side horses – one foot is on the horse called fate,
the other on the horse called free will. And the question you have to
ask every day is – which horse is which? Which horse do I need to
stop worrying about because it’s not under my control, and which do I
need to steer with concentrated effort?– Elizabeth Gilbert, from Eat, Pray,  Love


We’re open one year today!!!!!! Last year we taught our first lesson on November 7, 2013. Wow, it’s been an exciting year!


So let’s see. We started with just 3 keys, and that was it. No students, staff, furniture, floor, computers, music, phones, sign, etc. Now, we have an exciting school full of students and fabulous teachers.


We have made it though floods, more floods, and did I forget to say, more flooding on our new floor. We went through the hoops with Santa Monica and at last receiving our Franchisee from Arthur Murray International.


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We have been here with no lady instructors and sometimes no ladies at all. We’ve had just ladies and no men. We have danced at parties with just us, or 2 students. What a ride. Now, when I go to a party full of laughing, happy students and our wonderful staff, I get tears in my eyes. I am so thankful for where we are today.


We have gone through the fire and have arrived purified with the waters of purification and trials. We have been here with our partners and without our partners. Ups and downs. And now, our school has the “hum” that makes it magical for us all.

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I love coming to the studio. Every day I am at my best. Every day I think of how to become a better person, owner, manager, and man. Every day our studio pulls the best out of us and we grow stronger week by week. Would I trade any of this work….no, never. It has made me grow and has made me a grateful person.


Thanks to all who helped get us here. Thanks Robert and Christy Melgoza for enabling the smooth transition to our school. Thanks to Gabriela Young and Joel Rieck for holding it together this past year. Thanks St. Monica Parish, to Arthur Murray International, Inc. for all your help, guidance and support. Thanks to the DeBeve’s for your love. And to all our many mentors around the country, the world, our own City of Santa Monica, The Chamber of Santa Monica, Thank You!


I would not be here today without the charismatic parents who raised me. My mom’s creative Southern ways, and my dad, who was my life’s hero, who was a born leader and friend to all. Dad was my number one guide in life.


This Friday, we celebrate life, accomplishment, love, life, laughter, freedom, success and to a great present and a bright future!

Love you all,

David Woodbury



Successful People 10-24-14

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No 42 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, October 24, 2014

Successful People

If successful people have one common trait, it’s an utter lack of
cynicism. The world owes them nothing. They go out and find what they
need without asking for permission; they’re driven, talented, and
work through negatives by focusing on the positives.– Mike Zimmerman

I am driven and I work through the negatives by focusing on the positive. The only reason I am here today is because of the wonderful friends and mentors who have guided me to this point in my life.

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We must find time to stop and thank the people who have made a
difference in our lives.– Dan Zadra

I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people
living ordinary lives.– Tracy Chapman

Thank you to my great parents, family, friends, Arthur Murray Family, St. Monica Team, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce leaders, dance competitors, fitness friends, WeightWatchers, and especially my partner, Joel Rieck. I am aware that we have not chosen the easy path in life. We are all the powerful Icebreaker ships that open the path for other ships in the seas. We create a road across rivers, through mountains, rough terrain, so that others may have an easier time in their lives on their road of success.

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The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing
would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.– Mahatma Gandhi

Am I doing what I am capable of doing? The answer is no. I’m 58 and still I have not reached my potential. I see a work ethic all around me that says work less, delegate, slow down. Yet, I just can’t slow down. I love my life and I love what I do.

Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.– John Keats

I want to feel real. Happiness, sorrow, success, failure, the good and the bad. I want to feel life and learn from all that it has to give. Now, I see a success as someone who gives life and leadership to others. The great leaders in my life have won awards, received special recognition. But what I notice the most of all is that after they receive their accolades, they continue doing the work that got them there. They don’t just do the work and receive the plaque and then rest, they continue with the same actions of service that brought them to the light in the first place.

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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind
word, a listening ear, an honest accomplishment, or the smallest act
of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.– Leo Buscaglia

Go out there and be successful, but do it while you are turning someone’s life around to be better and more successful!

Love you all,

David Woodbury