No 33 “Patience is passion tamed.” 8-18-17

Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde 

No 33 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 18, 2017

“Patience is passion tamed.”

– Lyman Abbott (1835 – 1922) American Congregationalist theologian

For many years I never had patience. I was a ‘millennial’ in the 70’s. I wanted everything in my dancing to come to me on the first try and I wanted my technique to be perfect and natural from the first try. I had the passion and the talent, but not the patience to practice to perfection. Many others could just see a step and do it the first time. That skill I did not possess (I still can’t do this).

Then, I watched how others taught the steps that I was learning. They were fast and impatient with their students, and they lost patience with those that did not learn as fast as they had learned. They even became harsh with others when the step was not executed to their standard.

One of my teachers told me a wonderful key that has stayed with me for decades. She said “David, you’re a slow forgetter!” I just thought I was dumb sometimes when I could not get a pattern. But when I learned the step and the technique, I had it for a lifetime.

On the teaching end, since I was a “slow forgetter”, I was very patient with my students. I learned that the two key ingredients in teaching were laughter and praise. Later I learned that people did not remember what you said to them, they remembered how you made them feel. I learned that teaching could be a wonderful confidence building experience for the students who were learning.

“Thoughtfulness for others, generosity, modesty and self-respect are the qualities which make a real gentleman or lady.”

– Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) British Scientist

Over the years I have had teachers who brought me to tears, made me hate and resent them, and teachers who tore me down. Then, there were the master teachers who made me feel as if I could learn and perform anything in my life. They made learning fun and made me feel confident and talented. They are still the heroes in my dancing life. Although some of the mean teachers taught me some greatly needed lessons, I still remember the emotional floggings they gave me.

Now, when I am teaching and someone makes a mistake, I pause, smile and say “What was that?”  We begin to laugh and share a hug, a giggle, and then we fix the step. Those students seem to love their lessons. They are the ones who smile on the floor and draw all eyes to their great smiles and beautiful technique and styling in their dancing.

Perhaps the best part of ballroom dancing is that we learn respect. Respect for our partner, other couples on the floor, the audience, the choreography and the music, the judges, and the wonderful audience for whom we are performing. Ballroom teaching discipline and how to present the other person with grace and elegance. Perhaps if we could just get all the leaders of the world together at the United Nations and teach them ballroom technique and the etiquette it teaches, we might have better world peace!

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.”

– Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco (1897-1945) English Writer

As I write to you today, the words flow from my heart to my fingers to the page. I give this love and support to you not remembering the effort of writing, and I take back the blessings I receive from sharing this love with you, never forgetting the experience.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality 4-17-15

Arthur Murray on Ship

No 16. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, April 17, 2015

Turn Your Dancing Dreams into Reality

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the
conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my
talent for absorbing positive knowledge.
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American Physicist

Einstein had it right when it came to making dreams come true. Do you think you’re not talented? Do you have ability or rhythm? Did someone tell you you’re a terrible dancer and that you can’t learn. Well, listen to this. First, the body has a natural rhythm. Put your right hand over your heart and feel, “boom, boom – boom boom”. Your heart has a natural rhythm. Notice while you are listening to your heart, you are breathing, “we-hoo, we-hoo, we-hoo, we-hoo.”  You’re a walking, breathing one-man-band! Yes you have rhythm, and ability naturally.

Secondly, did you walk today and not fall down (I don’t always do that)? Did you drive today? Well, if you can drive in LA, you can dance. Give yourself some credit, dancing is natural and you CAN learn how to dance, and have a lot of fun learning!

Don’t give up!

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
— Margaret Thatcher, (1925-2013)  British Prime Minister

I have known dancers who picked up immediately, and lost it immediately. I have seen dancers who can see a step and can execute it perfectly. Then, there’s me! My first dance teacher told me, “David, you’re a slow forgetter”. I have always loved the fact that she told me that. It takes me forever to get something, and I never forget it (hopefully).

This is one of my favorite quotes:

Persistence, by Calvin Coolidge

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is filled with educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination are alone omnipotent.

“Press On!” has been and always will be the answer to every human problem.

Never ever give up. Never think you day is coming, for it may be coming right now, this day! I tell my staff this, keep on going. You haven’t learned the lesson you were meant to learn for this situation. This is hard for me, I have no patience, ever, yet I have seen this come true in my own life and the lives of others. When God closes a door, He opens a window. Just stay true to your hopes and dreams.

Dancing is such a great skill. It teaches you patience, discipline, structure, organization, and practice and time management skills. Dancing success will not come overnight, but over a period of time, you’ll realize your dreams and you’ll never have to say no to a partner, never have to sit out a dance, and you will be a winner for your skill of dancing with a partner.

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

Be a real hero and stay true to your dreams and goals.

Happy Dancing!

David Woodbury