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

 

 

Make Your Own Circumstances 11-4-16

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No 45 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 4, 2016

Make Your Own Circumstances

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) Irish Playwright

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We think, “Oh, they have it so easy in their life. Money, family, opportunity. It was all given to them.” Yes, it may seem that others have it easy and we have it hard, but get this. We have the best in our own lives if we just look up and see all the great things around us.

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I’m a blamer and I get jealous of other’s success. I think, “That should have been me”, “I can do that, what didn’t that success come to me?”. The reality is that we are all truly living in our own great success. We have control over our circumstances and we have the ability to make opportunities come our way. We never truly know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes.  The funny thing is this, often the ones we are envying are looking at us and saying, “Wow, they have all the luck” for they see the good in our lives that we are unable visualize.

“Trials, temptations, disappointments — all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.” – James Buckham (1844 – 1930) Canadian lumberman and Liberal politician

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Why do our diet and exercise programs fail? Once it gets a bit hard, or requires extra energy, or tests our character, we give in. The temptations are overwhelming and we just do not have the strength to overcome the trials. We just give into our present circumstances and cannot pull up.

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Do you know how a world class ballroom dance couple makes it to the top? Is it talent, luck, or is it just given to them? The answer is simple, the best couples have worked the hardest, practices the longest and have earned their ranking through many trials and failures. Their successes are precious and sweet, and they have hearts of gratitude for the glory given to them. They made their own circumstance and created their own opportunity and stayed with it to the top.

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“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.” – Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970) American Football Coach

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It’s easy to stay down after being knocked down over and over. Yet, as Vince Lombardi says, coming back is the real glory. I’d like to just get up and stay up, but as Waltz has rise and fall, and Tango is staccato with starts and stops, and Swing has its turns and spins, and Samba has a bounce, blessedly there is the Foxtrot that is smooth and glides across the floor. I wish you, the reader a few Foxtrot days, but also enjoy your Tango days, and keep on coming back!

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Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!