A Season of Thanksgiving – Health and Fitness through Dancing

Friday, November 23, 2012


As President of the United States, George Washington, proclaimed November 26, 1789 the first nation-wide Thanksgiving celebration in America, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God”.

Today Thanksgiving is a holiday that transcends religion and ethnic background.  Individuals and families from all walks of life gather together and take a day for rest, reflection, and giving thanks.

To some, Thanksgiving is a season of shopping, “Black Friday”, and the beginning of the Christmas season. To others it is a big day in the kitchen, preparing a feast for a large group of family and friends.  Some people even celebrate with serving 1,000 free meals to those in hardship, and providing essential toiletries and clothing.

There is a group who see the season as a time away from work and school.  They can finally sleep in and relax, watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, and see the current blockbuster movies at their local Cineplex. For some it is a day of being alone, away from family and friends. As time is it’s own master, there are individuals who have recently experienced a great loss of a partner, parent, or loved one. There are people who are newly divorced, separated, or have just received grave personal health news.

For the physically active, there are many, many Turkey Trots and 10K races during Thanksgiving. These are usually moving costume parades and fun festivals of exercise and physical exertion.

For me, Thanksgiving 2010 was the day I broke my shoulder and had to have a complete reconstruction at UCLA.  Two years after that surgery, I celebrated with a 15K trail race, where I once again fell on a tree root at mile 7, falling right on my “new” shoulder. I jumped up and ran the rest of the race with only bruised pride and shaky knees!

Yes, this is a special time for us all and we are all in our own specific places in our lives during this holiday season.  How we celebrate depends on many factors in our lives. This year I am team leader at our Thanksgiving Mass at St. Monica’s in Santa Monica.  This is a packed service, full of families and guests who are anxiously awaiting the great feast ahead of them. We have the blessing of the bread and wine for the meal, and we take a moment to say Thank You to the One who has given us life.

For Arthur Murray, this is a great season of gratitude for our students and teachers. We have many special parties, dancing events, and exciting classes that celebrate the true meaning of Arthur Murray’s…“Changing lives through dancing”. This is my favorite time in the dance studio and the happiest time of the dancing year for me.

Thanksgiving has been a joyous time, a sad time, a time of renewal, healing, and reflection for me during the years.  Now, I realize that I am observing this season by remembering all the blessings in my life.  My faith, my health, my partner, home, family and friends.  My great career as a dancer with Arthur Murray Studios, and the wonderful Woodland Hills studio where I dance.  My supportive franchisees, the great students and staff. What a wonderful gift to be able to be creative each day, and change other people’s lives through my dance knowledge and experience.

Today I say, “Thank You”. Thank you to all of you for making my days a joy, and for the love we share through dancing. Remember, “Count your blessings every day”!


Thank You,

David Earl Woodbury


Next Week: Secrets of Success

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