No 45 11-10-17 Nothing is ever lost by courtesy

No 45 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 10, 2017

Nothing is ever lost by courtesy

“Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much.”

– Erastus Wiman (1834 – 1904)

Canadian journalist and businessman

Growing up, my dad always said to my mom “Be sweet Miz Woodbury”. Why, she had a direct option on people and situations. I’m just the same. I’m quick to speak and fast to react. My weakness is that my buttons get pushed so fast that I can’t get them under control and bam, there goes my big mouth!

What’s the answer? This courtesy quote is excellent. The answer is wait a moment before speaking and reacting. Now at 61, finally I take a moment before saying the first thing that pops into my mouth. I have learned to take a breath, pause, and listen to the other person finish their sentence. My dear friend, Roz DeBeve, always said that God had perfect mathematics when He gave us two ears and one mouth. Roz said to be successful, listen twice as much as you speak!

For another aspect of courtesy, I have learned from my great friend, Linda Greenberg, to say “I’m sorry”. Perhaps there is a disagreement between two people, and you are caught in the middle of it and you did nothing wrong to either party. To be the peacemaker, just say “I’m sorry” that happened and just take out the fight and be the calming factor. I’ve seen many fires put out with this simple act of courtesy.

Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson said during a homily a few years ago that he had gone through a major change in his life. He said he would get angry and be “in the right” in arguments. He stood before us, hands behind his back, and he said, “Now I just say, I’m sorry” and I don’t fight. His message had a profound effect on me. Does it matter if I am right? It matters if I am a great peacemaker and am able to help, console, guide, and repair situations in a positive way.

“We cheerfully assume that in some mystic way love conquers all, that good outweighs evil in the just balances of the universe and that at the eleventh hour something gloriously triumphant will prevent the worst before it happens.”

– Brooks Atkinson (1894 – 1984)

American theatre critic

The biggest part of courtesy for me is laughter. Of the four personality types, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Melancholy, and Choleric, I am a Chosen Sanguine and a retired Choleric. That means that I was a jerk for a long time and did not laugh enough. I was way too strong and made others see that I was always right. Guess what readers, this was not good for my heart and I almost had a heart attack over this.

Now, I find that courtesy through laughter is a true medicine. When I am dancing and we make a mistake, we look at each other and say “what was that?” and we laugh and give each other a hug a move on. What a great approach to teaching and this keeps my students happy, and they do learn how to dance beautifully loving each and every moment.

Yes, I’m quick just like my mom J. Clair was, yet she was also a very polite and gracious woman. My dad always had a great laugh and he smiled at all who were around him. I’m so blessed to and honored to be their son and have their Southern characteristics in my personality.

Courtesy: try this. Just go out and give a smile and share a laugh with someone. Tell them how great they look today and how happy you are to see them. Ask them how they are and say you are looking forward to seeing them again. Remember, the smile we see in other’s faces is our own smile we are giving to them. From our quote today,

“It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing and conveys much”.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!










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!



2-7-14 Adding Style and Technique to Your Dancing

DEW Good Photo 11-7-

David Earl Woodbury – Franchisee
No 7: Changing Lives through Dancing

By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, November 7, 2014

Adding Style and Exciting Technique to Your Dancing!
After thinking about this all week, I can’t write it…at all. I think and believe this. If you don’t have a full, heart-felt laugh on every dance lesson or practice, it’s not worth it. You just have to let go now and then and laugh until you cry and your sides ache.

Laughter 2-7-14

A merry heart does good like a medicine – Proverbs 17:22

No man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be altogether
irreclaimably bad. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish Writer

Gentlemen, why don’t you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon
me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die. — Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) 16th President of the United States

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and
the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to
know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This
is to have succeeded. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American Poet and Essayist

Laughter is the language of the Gods. — Buddhist saying

When I was a new teacher, then a new advanced teacher, I was very serious and would often scold my students for mistakes. I remember once while dancing an International Gold Waltz with Susan Kelly, Jacques DeBeve swept her away from me and started twirled her around the floor. I was not truly upset until I saw that she was laughing and loving it. He returned her to me and said as he left “Never forget to have fun on your lessons” and he walked away as Susan giggled. I never forgot that moment, and I changed how I taught my dance sessions.

Laugher is the language of the soul 2-7-14Now, 37 years later, a few more miles on me, several surgeries and pounds later, I am a different teacher. Now when my partner’s make a mistake I say, “What was that!” and we begin to laugh hysterically. A boo boo happens and I have learned to smile, laugh, have a chuckle, and give a hug. I love all my lessons all the time now and I fill them with positive words of affirmation and praise at all times. Who am I to point the accusing finger at someone else? Teach with humor!

The laughter has become a part of not just my lessons, but the dancing itself. This blog was supposed to be about technique, but I think now that you have to have heart and passion while dancing. A judge will forgive a foot fault if your moves can cause their hearts to skip a beat, or they have a wow moment watching you, or a tear comes to their eye from the poetry of the steps. (I think I have made judges cry in the past, but it wasn’t from any poetry coming from my feet!)

Laughter is the closest distance between two peopleSell the sizzle of each dance. Let your partner feel the staccato action of Tango, the passion of Bolero, the flowing action of Viennese, the pulsation of Samba, the excitement of Swing, the gliding smoothness of Foxtrot and Waltz, the exhilaration of Rumba and Cha Cha, and the crazy fun of Hustle, Salsa, and Merengue.

Style, you learn how to have it, but you have to earn it for every dance. I’m crazy for anyone who owns their style and technique, but for yourself…create magic and break all the rules. Show your courage and go out there with a cheerful heart and a smile, laughter and love!

Thank You!
David Earl Woodbury
Next Week: Valentine’s Day February 14, 2014