“We Need a Renaissance of Wonder”

“We Need a Renaissance of Wonder”

Week 28  7-9-21 “We Need a Renaissance of Wonder”

Changing Lives Through Dancing – by David Woodbury

“We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic.”

– E. Merrill Root (1895 – 1973)

American Writer


Before the pandemic, I was always dreaming. Envisioning a great future, an exciting present, and a rock-solid past of good learning and experience.  Suddenly on March 16, 2020, I was hit with fear, disbelief, and the knowledge that the whole wide world was experiencing the same thing at the same time.

“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


As time slowly crept on, I watched as we began teaching dancing through Zoom from our living room to our students in their own homes. Then we included group classes and even dance socials all on Zoom. The whole world of Arthur Murray was turned into the most creative company in the world to continue dancing even during the lockdowns.

We may have been knocked to our knees, but we got right back up and dancing on those knees and feet and we came back.

“Patience is passion tamed.”

– Lyman Abbott (1835 – 1922)

American Congregationalist theologia


I am a person of strong passion. I feel life, often at times too much. When I lost “control” of being able to just make the pandemic go away, I had to learn patience and tame my passions. This resulted in us being able to reopen as we have now and as we grow and continue to grow our Arthur Murray Dance Center in Santa Monica.

“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”

– Sophia Loren

(1934- ) Italian Actress


COVID-19 was not my mistake. It was out of my control, yet I could control making dancing viable in new and exciting ways. The keeping of our hope, the renewal of our hopes and dreams, and a recharging of our faith has helped us get through this

past year and a half and we have a positive goal of fully restoring our business and being stronger than ever in the very near future.

“Trials, temptations, disappointments — all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber 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


Our every fiber of our character has been tested and strengthened and our energy is stronger than it every was before. I believe that I will always have trials in my life. I only pray that God will give me the strength to preserver and overcome the challenges that are placed before me.

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.”

– Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881)

British Prime Minister


March and April of 2020, I must confess that I did not have a lot of great heroic thoughts. I was frightened and afraid and confused. Then the riots of May 31st made me stop in my tracks as they happened just days before the Santa Monica businesses were to reopen. Many could not even open due to looting and even the burning of the businesses. Our school was spared.

As I watched Monsignor of St. Monica saying masses on Livestream to an empty church that was closed, and the schools that had been moved to online teaching, I began to gain hope watching a hero turn doubt into faith.

Over many months, I witnessed what could have been a parish that went bankrupt, to a parish that began to flourish though great thoughts, innovations, and a strong hero leadership.

I was Team Leader for the first Outdoor Mass, the first indoor mass, and the first returning 7:30 AM mass. I was part of the recovery and renewal.

Being a part of this renewal of vision gave me hope for our business and we began to flourish and grow again. Even though we endured a second lockdown and basically a second startup, we made it.

I even went through a personal health crisis, two ER visits followed by a surgery that has taken me almost a year to recover from. Yet, hope has prevailed and the desire to live, laugh, and grow has helped me stand firmly again, strong and resilient.

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

– Lord Byron

(1788-1824) English Poet


My mom, J. Clair Woodbury, always said to me “Keep a little song in your heart” and we always laughed together. The combination of humming a little melody and having a hearty chuckle, has always been a good prescription for success for me in life.

Keep your hope. It will get better and you are going to make it my friend!

Love you all,

David Woodbury