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.
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.
Now, 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!)
Sell 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!
David Earl Woodbury
Next Week: Valentine’s Day February 14, 2014