No 51 12-22-17 “I Love the Holidays”

No 51 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 22, 2017

I Love the Holidays!

We put up our Christmas tree Thanksgiving Day. Sent out our cards the next day. We knew that we would dance almost every day from then to Christmas Eve. Guess what? The days have been glorious. We have danced at many Arthur Murray Balls with hundreds of guest in attendance. We have participated in competitions, shows, graduations, dinners, celebrations and even our staff Marathon Day and staff party.

Our school has just won first place in our division for the international Tournament of Champions. Many months of preparation, many weeks of great lessons, groups, parties and events. We came out first place thanks to our great staff and wonderful students.

As for music, I have listened to hours and hours of Christmas music. I discovered the YouTube Christmas channels and my heart is in a constant state of singing. Music is life to me and these holidays have been full of all the classics, and even some new tunes! My mom, J. Clair, always said “Keep a little song in your heart!”

As for dancing, a lot of people have a very hard time during the holidays. With Arthur Murray I have the privilege of dancing through the entire season. It is an elixir to the blues, depression, loneliness, heartache, and stress. Now for 42 years I have danced through to the year’s end with great joy and happiness. I am the luckiest guy on the planet!

As for presents, Joel and I have a tradition. We serve at Christmas instead of giving presents. That means we are Hospitality Ministers at St. Monica Parish in Santa Monica. This year, because it is Sunday, we have 11 masses on the 24th. We will be serving the 7:30 AM, then return for the 6, 8, and 10 PM masses. It is glorious. We are Team Leaders for two of the four we are serving. We help organize our teams and say “Merry Christmas” hundreds of time to many, many smiling faces. We walk to and from mass and it is a magical experience from beginning to end.

It’s almost that special day of Christmas, and I have been happy the whole season. No time for the blues or feeling down. Just enough time to get to the next event, rest and eat a bit in front of the Christmas tree with Joel and the kitties, and lots and lots of dancing to make the holidays merry and bright. In my “spare” time, I am preparing for 2018 and planning a dream year of success for the upcoming year.

Love the holidays. Volunteer somewhere. Send some unexpected thank you notes. Visit an ill neighbor. Call someone you have not spoken to in a while. Take a friend some food. Reach out and the joy you will receive back will put you over the top.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

Excellence for its own sake! 1-29-16

No 5. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, January 29, 2016

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Excellence for its own sake!

“Those who turn good (organizations) into great (organizations) are motivated by a deep creative urge and an inner compulsion for sheer unadulterated excellence for its own sake.” – Jim Collins

Have you ever felt that you are in a renaissance? I feel it right now. I know that all the hard work from the past two years is finally paying off and that we are truly seeing success at our Arthur Murray Dance Center. Have you ever started a business, in a new location and new city, from scratch? No staff and no students and no one knows that you are even there? We have.

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A great thanks to the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce for putting Arthur Murray Santa Monica on the map. Also, to St. Monica Parish for their support and putting the word out that we are here, teaching the West Side to dance!

“Aspire, break bounds. Endeavor to be good, and better still, best.”- Robert Browning (1812 – 1889) English poet

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Now that we are in our third year of business, I am humbled. We knew what we were getting into when we opened a brand new location. We love people, we love dancing, and we are good at what we do, and we knew of seven day work weeks, and 18 hour days, yet it is all worth it. The challenge has made us strong and I feel like a new, more alive person every day. My old crabby person is slowing fading away to the new strong grateful person (my staff and husband would not agree!).

“In doing your work in the great world, it is a safe plan to follow a rule I once heard on the football field: Don’t flinch, don’t fall; hit the line hard.”- Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919) 26th President of the United States

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Do you have dreams. A bit of advice “Don’t burn your bridges until you get to them.” Dreams are fueled by hard work, determination, and nerves of steel. If you can’t handle problems, can’t handle facing yourself at your worst, and can handle the truth, you won’t make it. And for being angry at others, anger is like you drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It does no good.

“To know a truth well, one must have fought it out.”- Novalis (Georg Friedrich Philipp von Hardenberg)  (1772-1801) German Poet

Yes, you will have wonderful times ahead, trials ahead, triumph and tragedies, but you will know your own truth if you don’t give up. I have faced my own truth and have lived through that realization.

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“Yours is not the less noble because no drum beats before you when you go out into your daily battlefields, and no crowds shout about your coming when you return from your daily victory or defeat.” – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894) Scottish Novelist

We don’t always know what the day ahead will bring. In dancing, as well as owning a dance center, we may plan a day that will go well, or be a challenge, but the magic that makes everything work is the dancing itself! I remember Roz DeBeve always saying to me “Go back to dancing”. It makes everything right again.

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”- Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) American Civil Rights Leader

Live a life of excellence and live to your best potential!

Happy Dancing,

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


















Grow by Brave Reflection 1-1-16

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No 53. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, January 1, 2016

Grow by Brave Reflection!

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“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.”- Thomas Paine (1737-1809) British-American Writer

What happened to the holidays and 2015? It seems as if just yesterday we were taking Christmas Eve off for mass. Joel and I served the 4 PM, 6 PM, were Co-Team Leaders of the 9 PM, and we served the Midnight in the Church. Plus, we walked to and from the campus. We did a little bit of everything that night. We directed traffic on Lincoln, had dinner in the rectory, said “Merry Christmas” to hundreds of guests, and we heard the best Christmas music in the world with four different choirs and cantors. What a great night.

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Christmas Day was quiet and peaceful. The next thing I knew, it was Saturday night and I was getting ready for Sunday’s Mass. Then, I was preparing for my return to the studio. Wow, time flies!

This reflection shows me that time passes quickly and we should make the most of our lives, while we have them. A poison to me is apathy. I asked someone recently how their Christmas was and they shrugged their shoulders and said “naaaah” with a frown. The response still saddens me, for I had the best Christmas of my life, and I’m still excited over it. Take joy from life, then share it with others. Don’t share the “grumpy” part of life, share the excitement and thrill of life.

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“Despite some of the horrors and barbarisms of modern life which appall and grieve us, life has – or has the potential of – such richness, joy and adventure as were unknown to our ancestors except in their dreams.”- Arthur Holly Compton (1892 – 1962) American Physicist

We can live the dream today that in the past others could only imagine. We are surrounded by the richness of life; we just have to embrace it.

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Are you afraid of making mistakes? I make mistakes every day. Usually it is my big mouth and the words that come out of it that trips me up daily. Controlling my tongue is my greatest challenge. Yet, I plan living my life as a presenter, trainer and speaker. The price for this goal will be to master what I think first, then govern the words that come from my heart to other’s ears. Yes, life is an experiment to see if we are able to achieve our great potential.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” – Moliere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin) (1622 – 1673)

On this, the first day of 2016, write out a dream list of what you will do this year. Tell others about it. Choose tough goals and plan how you will achieve them. I think that 2016 is your year. My word for this year is “Unforgettable”. I want to be remembered for the service given and the lives that were changed. A big goal yes, but a goal of a lifetime for me. Live in the glory and have a great year!

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Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

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



Dear Gaby – Dancing With Our Stars – March 11, 2014

Gabycrop-1Gabriela Young


Dear Gaby


An advice column for dancers


I wanted to take this time to thank the Staff at St. Monica Parish, for doing such an amazing job with their “DANCING WITH OUR STARS”


Friday night 6 staff members and 1 parent accompanied by the Santa Monica Arthur Murray staff took the stage at St Monica’s to raise money for their Arts Department.


All the participants started taking their dance lessons 4 weeks ago, each had 14 private lessons to make this an even playing field. None of them had prior dance experience but after one month of lessons with some sweat and a lot of persistence they were all ready to perform.


The evening was a huge success with a sold out audience. Congratulations to Janice Conejo and Joel Rieck on winning the Mirror Ball.


To Dance is to Live


Thank You,

Gabriela Young