Reasons Why You Should Start Today

I take my time with everything. Everything. I don’t believe in doing anything before I’m ready. Except, that is, when it comes to entrepreneurship.

When it comes to business and creativity and getting ideas out there I believe the following:

  1. There’s more where that came from. (You can’t “run out” of ideas or creativity. There will always be more.)
  2. You owe it to the world to get your ideas out there. (Why wait? It’s probably already been done before anyway, and it’s probably already being done currently in a similar way. But the world needs it from you. Which leads me to . . .)
  3. Your voice is unique. (Guaranteed: I can find it somewhere else, probably free or cheaper. But it won’t be from you. You’re the magic of what you’re making.)
  4. The fears are usually methods of procrastination. (Yes, someone might steal it. That’s happened to some of the best. It still won’t be yours. No, it won’t be perfect, but get it out so that you can get proof of concept and improve over time based on real-life feedback from your audience/consumers/the people who are invested in your work and are paying you for it and paying attention to it.)
  5. What you put out today won’t be your best. (But if you’re a true artist and a true professional, you’ll get better over time. I used to teach all my dance classes with a binder of notes on the floor and use the same exact playlist for at least 4 weeks straight. I got better over time. But my students who took classes from me when I would spend precious moments of class reading my typed detailed notes because I was so afraid of making a mistake and when I’d play the same music several weeks in a row because I thought it was just so perfect for my class and couldn’t bear the idea of using different songs, they needed me then. The world needed what I was offering then and I needed those early first experiences so I’d have somewhere from which to go further. I needed a baseline. I needed to begin the work.)

So, while you won’t see me impulsively rushing into friendships, marriage, buying property, eating twice as much as I’d planned, or adopting a new dog, you’ll see me getting my ideas out there fairly quickly.

I owe it to the world to get my ideas out there. They’re good ones. And they’re getting better every day.


The Happy Dance Podcast: Episode #7


Read the podcast transcript below or click HERE to download the PDF!

Hi there! My name is Saumirah McWoodson, and I’m the founder and CEO of Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools, and I’m also a dance education researcher and business consultant at And I’m the host of The Happy Dance Podcast where we talk about all things related to dance, education, and cultivating a life of happiness. So, let’s dance!

Hey guys. Welcome to The Happy Dance Podcast Episode #7. My name is Saumirah McWoodson, and I am your host. Okay, so first of all, I want to jump right into telling you why I’m doing a happy dance today, and today I’m doing a happy dance because it is officially my summer break. So I should say that I’m used to having summer breaks because I’ve worked professionally as a classroom teacher for about six years now, and when I was not working as a classroom teacher, I was still working at schools in the summer and so I got used to the campus being a little bit different or I got used to students not filling up the hallways, so just not as many students being on campus during the summers, or I worked at summer camps. That sort of thing. So personally and professionally, just in all of my life, I have always had a summer break. I was explaining that to someone at my brunch, the other day, they were asking about–I’ve actually gotten asked about this a couple of times recently–how it felt now that I’m just focusing most of my day and my waking hours on, well, of course, being a full-time dog mom, but also growing my business, and I told both of these people, I was like, “Well, it’s not that different for me because I’m used to kind of doing whatever I want in the summer anyway.” And so yeah, if I haven’t just been kind of… Well, I’m not the kind of person that just lays around and does nothing. That kind of feels like the most horrible thing in the world to me. It’s actually extremely hard for me to relax.

But anyway, it’s officially my summer break because my classes for my doctoral program, we had our last in-person classes this past weekend, so that was our residency weekend where we meet on campus. And then I have one more final project due by Friday at midnight. I’m going to try to get it done earlier, because apologies to my professor for my other class. I was reminded once again that starting papers or starting to edit papers that are really bad late at night, just doesn’t, it doesn’t work for me.

So I will work on getting my Marketing and PR in Education assignment done earlier than aiming for it to be done by 11:58 when it’s due at 11:59. Also, knowing that I’m a morning person, and there have been many times in my life when it’s hard for me to stay up past 8:30 or 9:00, I probably shouldn’t plan on working late. That does not work for me at all. But yes, that is why I’m doing a happy dance. I will have a couple of breaks, I think I will have almost a month free from I guess just kind of homework assignments for my doctoral program.

I was gonna say I’m really excited because now I get to spend kind of more time working on things for Dance Ed Startup. So I am going to start writing lesson plans that coincide with playlists, that sort of thing.

I also want to catch up on some fun reading, but I was thinking how ridiculous that is considering that I am trying to write a dissertation. I should probably be doing only academic reading. So I am all about balance, but I’m a slow reader. I’m not one of those people that speed reads. I’ve learned to speed read for school, but when I’m reading for pleasure I like to take… I’d say at a solid three minutes per page of any like regularly font-sized novel.

So even for me, reading for pleasure, is kind of like an all-consuming thing, but I really probably should just be reading about dance education in the United States for the next month or so, but however, I spend my time over the next couple of weeks, I will be happily dancing through the next few weeks. And I will figure out how to balance my academic readings and my pleasure readings. And that’s kind of, that leads me right into what I wanted to talk about today.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about balance, but not so much balance. I’ve really been thinking about being a typically busy person, like most of us are today, but being a busy person and prioritizing.

So I think I heard,  maybe in a podcast or maybe on an Instastory or something, but I think Rachel Hollis said something like we can do all of the things, but we are going to prioritize differently at different times, and that’s okay.

So, for example… And I think it was actually on Amy Porterfield’s podcast that she was talking about this, on one of the podcasts where she was on there. And I think she was kind of talking about: Okay, when you’re at work, you love your kids, you love your family, but you’re making a choice from 9 to 5, or whatever you’re doing for work, you’re making that choice during that time to prioritize work. And of course, making money benefits your family. (And now I’m adding my two cents in here.) 

I don’t remember saying any of this stuff, but… But of course, making money does benefit your family, but when you are going to focus on… We can’t do it all in the same moment. But in the same week, can we dedicate our time to work and family and travel? Sure. But that’s over seven days. So each day or each minute, you’re going to be focusing on something else. And something I’ve just really been trying to figure out. I’ve said in previous podcasts, that my kind of word for the year is community, and I really, I’ve said as well, I’m really happy with the community that I’m continuing continuing to create for myself here in Sacramento, and all of that sort of jazz.

But I’ve also said before all of the hats that I wear, all the things that I’m doing with doing all of those things, that is hard to find balance or it’s hard to know which is the right thing to prioritize at the right time.

I am trying to focus on, of course, hence the name of the podcast and of my blog, but I am trying to focus on happiness and developing my own happiness. And part of that is finding balance, and finding time for my educational program, for my businesses, for growing my businesses, marketing my businesses, interacting with clients. Like that’s all, of course, for an entrepreneur, that’s hugely important to me.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a super involved dog mom, and so for my Facebook friends who got a lovely photo, of some organic non-GMO dog food, being able to spend time with my dogs every morning and kind of keep them on a routine… For all of the non-dog parents out there, maybe that sounds really silly, but it something that’s really important to me, and so that’s something that I do prioritize in the morning.

I also like that when I keep my jobs on their routine, it helps me say my routine. So if we get up and get on our wall by 6:00 or 7:00… They’ve been letting me sleep and lately, so I have been getting up around 7:00 in the morning instead of between 5:45 and 6:00 am, so that’s nice. But anyway, with that I’m usually able to start working on my personal business ventures by about 8:30 am, which is when they go down for their morning nap. Again, if you’re not a dog parent you probably think I sound silly, I would too, but now that I’m a dog parent I think everything I’m saying is totally normal.

But yeah, that’s something that I highly prioritized and so when I’m doing other things, it’s hard for me to not have that time with my dogs. Or going back to the creating community. So for example, I think I did a great job with balancing this past weekend. I had residency weekend for my doctoral program, as I already mentioned, and I had that Friday night from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, then Saturday morning or Saturday all day from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm.

We finished a little bit early on Saturday, and then after that I had organized a Meetup event. I mentioned before that I highly recommend if you’re looking for friends and fun. Look for in your area. But anyway, I had organized a Meetup event and it was just at an outdoor movie where I live, in Sacramento, California. And I was pretty nervous about it because I didn’t really know anybody who was going, but it was great and I felt so fulfilled, and I just had a blast being able to share in that community-building, set-aside time with new friends and people that just wanted to hang out on the Saturday and watch a movie. So that was really awesome. And I felt personally fulfilled from that. And I’m glad that I carved out time and made myself go, because big picture, community and developing friendships is something that I want to focus on.

And then Sunday morning, I had another meetup event. I host a monthly brunch for a social Meetup group for 20s and 30s-Somethings who are living in my area, and so that’s something that I absolutely love, and I value that time so much. And hey, I’m a millennial, so I love brunch. But typical Saumirah, doesn’t book things for myself back to back to back like that. Class Friday, class Saturday morning, Meetup Saturday evening, Meetup Sunday morning. And then I also went to work for one of my side hustles, now that I’m trying to work my work on my business full-time.

So I always, just so you know, if you follow me online or know me in real life… I think people that know me in real life, they realize this about me over time: I always have at least probably 10 side hustles going at one time. And some of those side hustles make me like 50 cents per month. And some of them make more than that but whatever I’m doing, I just wanna state for the record, I’m not in any way a spontaneous or like fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of person. Anyone in my family or anyone who knows me at all can tell you this. I plan everything out to the tee. And so even when I take risks, they’re extremely calculated. But anyway, moving on from that. So the point I would book this weekend and I was kind of like, “Oh my gosh, what are you doing?”

You know? Because I think I mentioned before on this podcast, I’m 49% introverted and 51% extroverted or vice versa. I never remember which one it is. They’re so close it doesn’t really matter to me. But the point is that with that, I can sometimes… Or I guess not sometimes, just always, I’m always… It seems equally fulfilled from either being alone and rejuvenating or from being around others and getting energy from hearing other people’s stories and sharing my own story, and just feeling connected to humanity. And those are the big reasons of why I host a monthly brunch. I seriously feel connected to other humans and to humanity as a whole, when I just have expensive eggs and mediocre coffee. No, it’s usually good coffee. We have really good brand places near where I live. 

But anyway, I sometimes get energy from stuff like that and sometimes I’m like, “Oh my gosh…” It can be too much sometimes. And so I’m always trying to find… Yeah, I guess I’ll say balance. I’m always hoping that I’m making the right decision with how much energy I’m choosing to put into things or make myself available for, for all of these social things. And what I’m realizing, which is hard because you always wanna feel like, again, like you’re making the right choices or the best choices. So, what I’m realizing is that yes, you can fit everything in… because I was thinking about this podcast, and I don’t know if you listeners want advice from me, because I think that I have been tending to phrase things as questions, and so I was trying to think of what would I say if I wanted to be this advice-giver on this podcast and I was thinking: “Well, okay, so you’re talking about balance. Well, how do you balance stuff out?” Because, talking to myself because I’m always by myself… How do I get stuff done because people tell me all the time that I have so much energy and I get so much stuff done so I was trying to think, “What do I actually do?” And I think that when it comes to stuff like this weekend that I just had my original advice or what came to mind was, “I just do it.” I see that there’s free time, I know that I need to balance hard like mind-boggling, strenuous academic stuff with fun, hangouts on the grass in the middle of summer with friends, and so, just do it.

But it’s funny, and this is the introverted part of me, it’s funny that, leading up to those things, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, what am I doing?” So it’s almost as if the two parts of me are in conflict about these things that I’m doing in my life, but that’s fine. I’m sure most people have that… I don’t know. I’m also a Gemini as well, so I guess these twins that live inside of me or constantly fighting. Who knows. But that was going to be my advice is just book the meeting, or plan a vacation and put money down, or write in your calendar and actually do it, put it on your to-do list and make sure you don’t let more than 48 hours go by without crossing that thing off your to-do list.

But what I’m realizing though is that you can do all the things and you can know that you are choosing to prioritize one thing over another, but that doesn’t make it feel any better. And I was thinking about this because I feel that I did a knockout, but-kicking presentation for my marketing class this past Saturday. I felt very proud of it. I told my partner, I think it’s probably the most prepared I’ve been for any presentation in my doctoral program thus far. Whoops–it’s like the end of my second year. But that’s how I felt.

It was opposed to be a 10-minute presentation, and I got it down to 11 minutes. Yeah, I didn’t wanna work any harder than that apparently. But anyway, I just… The entire presentation like, four or five times. I feel like I knew it down to how many breaths I could take per slide. Not really, but that’s how I felt. And so, I was so, so, so, so proud of myself, but I chose to prioritize that presentation and those slides and my speech and my pauses and my charisma, all of that sort of stuff for the sake of that class because I really enjoy that class. And I spent not so much time on my three-minute thesis presentation that I had for my different class. I have to be honest. So the title of the class it’s not coming to me right now. It’s called “AI,” and I always think “Artificial Intelligence,” and I feel so ridiculous right now. But for the class that I was supposed to have written a strong chapter two of my dissertation for… We had to do this assignment, which I really loved the assignment actually and I worked hard on it, but I definitely put more time into my marketing class presentation, which for granted that presentation was longer, but my marketing class is not writing my dissertation. I’m not getting a doctorate in marketing… unfortunately, ’cause this class was really fun. But anyway, so what I’m getting at is that even though I feel so… I feel so confident and happy and validated or I don’t know, accomplished, I guess, is a good word for the work that I have done recently and throughout the entire semester for my… Applied Inquiry! Sorry, really, of topic. This is how to communicate in real life. The other class is Applied Inquiry III. Okay. So even though I feel really accomplished because of the work that I’ve been doing in my marketing class, I feel guilty for neglecting the other class. And it’s hard because I, I felt good, I felt proud, I felt excited to do a presentation in school, and that’s a great feeling that I would not trade for anything. But the fact that I… to be really flat out, my three-minute thesis, I thought it was very good… it was a little over time, as well. I feel like all of my words are important, obviously, #whyimdoingapodcast, but I didn’t memorize it. And most of the people in my cohort, because they’re all over-achievers, but most of them had it memorized, and I… Because I saw that some people did not memorize it, I gave myself the freedom to not memorize mine as well, which to me means I wasn’t working as hard as I possibly could have. And of course when I was working on my 37-slide PowerPoint or–I use Google Slides–my 37 slide Google Slide for my marketing class, I could have been editing my chapter two of my dissertation. So I’m just thinking about how some people might feel in other parts of their life, or how I would feel going back to…  sometimes I have to go and make money to pay the bills and I have to leave my dogs at home. Sometimes parents or people are leaving their kids… Well, I guess if you have kids, you’re a parent. Sometimes parents are leaving their kids at home or people are leaving their loved ones to go out in the world to make money, but it doesn’t make it any easier. 

So you know you’re doing it for the right reasons. Like I know I’ve loaded up myself with all these social activities this past weekend it… And I was doing that for the right reasons, because I felt so amazingly fulfilled. It makes my heart and my soul happy to engage with other humans who are at similar stages in life or if they’re at stages in life that I’ve gone through, or if I can get advice from others. I love filling the cups of others and having my cup filled just from going to brunch. That fascinates me.

But what I’m saying is that it doesn’t make it any better, even though your soul is fulfilled from the things you’re doing, it doesn’t make it any easier to know that you’re not doing other things that are also extremely important to you or that also give you happiness and validation and a sense of accomplishment.

And so, I think my altered or developing state of advice, it wouldn’t just be to do the stuff because that’s not a way to live your life. Don’t just do stuff. I mean, sometimes just do it. Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes. Take your calculated risks and live your life. But what I’m thinking is that it’s really about the quest or the task, the challenge is finding the balance between the things that easily, naturally, without a doubt, will give you joy and feed your soul, and make your heart happy. It’s finding balance between those things and then the things that aren’t so fun. The things that will be good for you but you don’t like doing them.

I was thinking about writing and it’s crazy actually, because I completely love, I’ve loved writing. I have my blog at, and I’m sure that some of you who don’t… Haven’t been following me online, or don’t know me from… You haven’t been my Facebook friend since high school or something like that, so you don’t know about all of my ventures from when I used to promote teeth whitener and all that stuff, back in the day, but I’ve had blogs for a really long time. I had my first domain, when I was 14 years old. So, again, when I say I’m a nerd, like I’m a nerd. I just happen to be a nerd who was also a varsity cheerleader in high school.

But, anyway, I…  totally lost my train of thought. This is why I need a co-host.

Oh, okay. I was thinking about writing and it made me think of this quote that I discovered years ago and it’s by Steven Pressfield, and I’m holding this book in front of me. His book is called The War of Art. And I have two books of his… I forget what the next one is called. That one’s still on the bookshelf, and it’s not in the same room as me. But anyway, the point is: his quote is something like, “For real writers, it’s not the writing part that’s hard, it’s the sitting down to write.” Or something like that. And I will say, boy, oh boy, is that true for writing this dissertation of mine. It’s crazy because I was actually considering, and I feel like the sounds crazy because I feel like I was the one who knows my process well… but I was considering just changing it all up… And I was like, “Whoa! A 15-minute podcast gives me over 2000 words. It was like, I should just speak everything I wanna write in a paper and then find citations that support my thoughts!” And I think that’s like… Okay, I know all the flaws in that thinking in terms of academic research, so don’t like don’t tell me. Maybe some of you are gonna be like, “That’s genius!” But I did not do that. But I was literally having that thought because I was like, “My goodness, I have no desire to sit in front of a computer and edit this document.” And it’s horrible because again, I’m someone who loves writing. I’ve loved writing since high school, I just… It’s something that came easily to me even with writing academic papers. And I’ll say even through college, I never… I didn’t always wanna write papers, but I’ve had so many positive experiences with writing, and I’ve received, honestly, so much praise, like, I guess… Yeah, academic praise from writing that I’m confident in my ability to write. And so when I’m writing these super short blogs or whatever, posting freebies… I hope the freebies are helpful ’cause I spend time creating those documents and I want dance teachers and early career dance educators to be able to use them. But in terms of the actual blog content itself, I do feel like I have a very realistic… You know, I’m not like, “Whoa, that was the best thing I’ve ever written!” when it’s three sentences and here’s a freebie. The point is, I’m confident in my abilities to write and my abilities to express my thoughts through the written word, but everything changes when you’re doing a dissertation and… And I feel guilty because I feel like, with my not-so-awesome balancing act, I feel like I’ve done a poor job of incorporating the things that don’t instantly give me joy, like walking my dogs or honestly even putting the dishes away in the mornings. I feel like I should be giving more attention to the things that… What is it? Delay of gratification? I need to balance instant gratification stuff with delayed gratification stuff. And that I think… Therein lies the challenge. It’s not just like, “Oh, I’m so busy!” because we’re all busy. We all have stuff to do. We all have to do stuff we don’t want to do. I actually don’t, I don’t enjoy doing dishes in any way, I just really love having a clean kitchen. But still, it’s still instant gratification. I think I read that in an article somewhere.

So anyway, yeah, I’m trying to pose this in a way of like, “Oh, here’s what I discovered.” And this is what I’ve discovered. But if you ever want to message me on Instagram or something or if there’s somewhere to comment on this podcast… I’m not someone who comments on podcast, so I don’t even know if that’s a thing, but, find me online or email me and tell me what you think or like how are you balancing stuff in your life? Besides one, hashtag just do it, besides throwing it all on your calendar and getting it done or two, feeling guilty constantly because you’re always neglecting something. How are you dealing with those feelings of regret and how are you deciding when it’s time to do the things that spark joy and when it’s time to do the things that are like the medicine? A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. So okay, if a social outing is like my… And sorry, I’m playing with the binder clip in case you hear that sound, sorry. I’m a fidgeter sometimes. How do you decide between the things that are like the sugar of your life and the medicine of your life?

So that is what I was thinking as far as this podcast. So thank you for listening. I’m gonna end it here. Thank you all for listening. If you are interested in the book that I mentioned, it’s called The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield. And it’s a book that I  read actually a long time ago, but I have so many… it’s probably one of my favorites. I have not read it recently, but I have pencil marks all throughout this book, and I believe this is a second copy. I think I had a different version earlier because… Well, this one’s not dog-eared. And I see now that… Maybe I went through a phase where I was like un-dog-earing my books because… what is that movie?

Oh gosh, I can’t think of it, but… In that movie where the guy is like, “Oh, it’s disrespectful to dog ear your book.” So I see that I actually unfolded the corners. So, I was gonna be like, “This is a newer version!” But I think this is the one that I’ve had for years and anyway, I would highly recommend it for artists.

So yeah, The War of Art, obviously a play-on words from The Art of War, which I have not read, but I have read The War of Art. So. second goodbye. Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please go over to Apple Podcasts and give me a rating and review. I would really appreciate it.

And then also I forgot to say it at the beginning and I thought about it, but I was like… Eh, I don’t wanna cut off what I was saying. But this episode of The Happy Dance Podcast is sponsored by my digital course called Dance Ed Startup for early-career dance educators who want to start, streamline, and grow their dance education business.

And that opens up again in September of this year, on September 9th of 2019. And if you are interested, learning more about it, you can go over to and you’ll see a little outline of the order we go in for the course and all of that sort of stuff. 

Thanks you guys so much for listening. Be sure to rate and review on Apple Podcasts, if you enjoyed it, and I will catch you next time.

Oh, and really quickly! How to keep doing a happy dance in your own life! Sorry, I got really close to the microphone there. So I would say to keep doing a happy text in your own life… Okay, I’ll say this. I don’t like being a person who struggles with having guilt. And so that’s what I am trying to focus on, not in terms of just planning or prioritizing or finding balance in my life, but I wanna stop feeling guilty for enjoying the sugar.

So I will say that’s my little advice for continuing to do a happy dance is like, allow yourself the time to enjoy the good times because I think you need to have the memories of those for when you are doing the things that are getting to be that delayed gratification, the things that are not instantly satisfying and that don’t necessarily feed your soul.

Okay? Thanks for listening. I’ll catch you guys next time.


The Happy Dance Podcast: Episode #6


Read the podcast transcript below or click HERE to download the PDF!

Hi there! My name is Saumirah McWoodson, and I’m the founder and CEO of Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools, and I’m also a dance education researcher and business consultant at And I’m the host of The Happy Dance Podcast where we talk about all things related to dance, education, and cultivating a life of happiness. So, let’s dance!

Hey everyone! Saumirah here. Welcome to Episode #6 of The Happy Dance Podcast. Now, today’s episode is the third part of a three-part mini-series on social media marketing tools for your developing dance business.

In the first part of this mini-series I talked about my favorite social media platforms and I told you why I’m using them and how I’m using them. And then last week, in part two, I talked about my favorite photo-editing apps and there were a lot of them and I actually created a freebie.

So if you go to, you can grab that freebie.

And then, in today’s episode, I’m going to tell you about my favorite video editing apps.

And I was just going through my phone because that’s where I use all of these apps is on my iPhone X, and I realized I actually don’t have that many apps that I use to edit videos. So these are my legit favorite apps because I only have three.

Okay, so I’m gonna dive into that in a few moments here, but first I wanted to say that today’s episode is sponsored by the Dance Daze, Inc. Amazon Store. So if you go to, you’ll find the Dance Daze Amazon Store, and in it we have tools for dance teachers and we just added some recent things of interest for dancers as well. And so I was actually adding some stuff last week right after I finished the podcast. And so, I have a couple of things in a category for audio and visual equipment, and then I have healthy food for dancers that you can get from Amazon, and that goes along with the blog that I put out earlier this week. And so there’s some fun stuff in there. And then, of course, I have props for creative movement classes or for teaching dance classes in schools. So be sure to go over to the Dance Daze Amazon Shop, and check all that stuff out. And of course, if you just need to grab something from Amazon, and if you go and see if I have it in my shop first, that also helps me out, I’d appreciate it.

So again the link is just

Okay, so now I’m going to tell you why I am doing a happy dance this week. So I have a couple of things that I wanted to talk about, but I don’t want to drag this podcast out too long, so I don’t think I’m going to dive into all of them. But first, the first reason I’m doing a happy dance today is because my mom actually started her own podcast, and I listened to that for the first time. I listened to her first episode earlier today and so kudos to my mom for living her best life and getting her voice out there.

I think I’m going to wait a little while to give you more information about my mom’s podcast because I don’t quite know what direction she’s going to go in and she already knows this, I’m not sure she’s going to be super open because if she is I might not want to be affiliated or associated with that. But I’ll probably tell you more about her podcast as time goes on, but kudos to my mom for getting that started.

And then the second reason I’m doing a happy dance is–and I should preface this: I’m feeling kind of “deep”, but I wanna tone it down because my podcast isn’t going in that direction. But the second reason I’m doing a happy dance is because . . . I was thinking about how I want to say this, and here are the thoughts that came to my mind. When you go back and you think about the one or maybe there are two of the absolute hardest moments that you’ve had in your life and you realize that you overcame them, the feeling that that gives you can be so powerful and moving and it just serves as a reminder that when you’re going through hard times again that you can also get through those hard times.

And so maybe you don’t, I don’t know, I think everyone maybe has a moment that they feel like, “Oh this is the most challenging thing I’ve ever gone through my entire life.” And now it’s months or years later and things are better, or they’re bearable, or maybe you don’t think about this sadness every single day anymore.

And so that’s kind of the reason I’m doing a happy dance is because… Let’s see… Because I’m grateful that we are able to overcome hard times and because I’m resting in the audacity of hope for a better tomorrow. So those are the two reasons I’m doing a happy dance. Kudos to my mom for starting that podcast. And then again, just yeah, having the hope that the sun will come out tomorrow.

Okay, and that’s all I’m gonna say about those deep thoughts of mine.

So now let me tell you about my favorite video editing apps. And so, obviously, since there are only three that I have on my phone, these are the only things that I use, so I really use them a lot. So the first one that I absolutely love is Magisto. I actually prefer to pronounce it Mageeesto. But to be honest, I don’t really say it that often, ’cause I don’t go around talking about apps to people, no matter how much of a nerd I am. But I guess also it goes to show you how much of a nerd I am, because I don’t have that much social interaction.

Yay, here’s my podcast! Thanks for listening to me, friend!

Okay, so I love Magisto basically for these reasons. You can basically put in all of your photos, video clips, and if you have… I’ve been paying for it for a while now. I think the free version I think they still have a free version and it does this or the lowest cost version I believe is like $4.99 US dollars $4.99 per month. They order the videos and the video clips and photos for you, you can pick your sound track, you can pick your theme and it just comes out beautiful and everyone’s always like… “Oh, I like that so much.”

And so that’s why I love it. They have royalty-free music. You are able to, directly from the app, upload the videos that are created directly to YouTube. And I think a couple of other social media sites, but I usually just send them straight to YouTube and then I download them to my phone to upload them myself, so I like to upload the videos natively to the social media platforms that I want them on.

But with YouTube, I just do it directly from the app because I think that’s easiest, and because YouTube what… It’s like my third or fourth favorite platform so… But anyway, that’s why I really love it. And I think that the variety of… I think that your videos can only be three minutes or five minutes long, something like that, but I think you can have videos up to 10 or 20 minutes, maybe even, with the Professional version, that sort of thing. You get access to more layouts and things like that or templates. And so, yeah, that’s probably my absolute favorite video editing app. I’ve tried others but… And I actually didn’t write down the one that… there was another I meant to mention, and I forgot. Oh, I think it’s called InShot.

And I will confirm this. Caveat here. I realized as I was doing the editing my transcript for the last podcast, I was calling an app by the incorrect name so I want to not do that this week.

So I think in the transcripts, the app is still listed as what I called it, but I think I linked it to the correct website. So if anyone noticed that it’s not an error, it’s intentional because I wanted to give credit to the actual app that I was talking about. But anyway, okay, so I’ve tried other video editing apps to kind of, I think, just play around with different filters and that sort of thing. But, again, I don’t think you can be beat Magisto or “Mageeesto.” I think Magisto… if PicMonkey is my favorite photo editing app, then I would say Magisto is my absolute favorite video editing app that I would refer to everyone.

Okay, so I did not… I’ve only used InShot once and I liked it. It served its purpose, but I didn’t like it enough, to really talk about. So I’m gonna move on and tell you the second one that I actually wrote down to talk about and that app is Clipomatic. So I discovered that one recently because I was actually watching some Instastories and I noticed people had text at the bottom of their stories. I was like, “Oh that’s really cool.” And I was listening to some other podcast recently, a few months ago, and they were saying how awesome it is that people are now adding text to their videos for the reasons of just being aware of people who have different audio abilities, that sort of thing. But then also because if you are in a place where you’re not supposed to be making noise or it’s really early in the morning and you’re just waking up, and you’re being super unhealthy and watching Instastories first thing when you wake up in the morning, you can just read what the person is saying if someone’s doing a live video or something like that, or if they’re just talking to the camera.

And so that’s why I love Clipomatic. It’s also really easy to edit the text. It doesn’t necessarily space perfectly, but it’s good enough for just a quick live video. Or I guess, technically, they’re pre-recorded but if I record my face and then put it up within five minutes of me talking, that’s practically as good as going live in my opinion.

So, anyway, that’s the second video editing app that I use is Clipomatic. And then the final video-editing app that I use, and I think I started using this one before I discovered Magisto, is called Add Music. And I really like Add Music because, again, it’s simple to use. I love things that are just really easy and don’t take… I mean, okay. Don’t judge me. I know how to work hard for things in life too. But when it comes to apps and getting things ready to publish for digital and social media marketing, I, of course, like I think anyone would, like things that are really simple and don’t take a long time to figure out how to use them.

So with Add Music you just upload a video clip, and you can pick from their royalty-free music options. I believe they have a paid version of that app as well. And I don’t think I have the paid version or if I paid for it, it was like a one-time fee. But anyway, I was gonna say I don’t think they have that huge of a range or variety of their royalty-free music and that’s why I was saying I’m not sure if they have a better variety if you pay for a different or an upgraded version of the app or something like that, but… But anyway, that’s not… That’s never really been a problem for me. I actually like the selections that they offer, and so I will use the Add Music app if I have a clip of my dance classes and maybe I don’t necessarily feel like the music that was playing is the best representation of my program, my business. Maybe it’s spring time and I want to make a little video that kind of makes you feel springy and happy and connects you to the season of growth and blossoming and that sort of stuff. And yes, these are the things that I think about when I’m editing videos for my dance business.

But anyway, even though, again, the selection of music is not that big from what I remember–I haven’t used it in a couple of months–but I think that it works fine for my business because they’re just quick clips and I don’t use this app,every single day. I’d say at most, I use it like once a month for videos, maybe more than that, but just fairly infrequently. And so what I’m saying is if I am using the same songs ’cause I think I do use the same songs on that app, the same four or five songs, they’re getting rotated enough so that I think my audience for my dance business is not getting bored with the sound of the audio clips and using… Okay, so I’m gonna run through them one more time. There are only three this time, so super short. But again, Magisto, Clipomatic and Add Music. Those are my top three favorite video editing apps for my dance education business.

Okay guys, so I think that’s it for today. Thank you so much for listening to Episode 6 of The Happy Dance Podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please go over to Apple Podcasts and give me a five-star reading and a review. I would love it so much and be so very grateful and appreciative.

I, of course, want to leave you with a few words on how you can continue to cultivate that life of happiness and keep doing a happy dance in your own life. And this is something that I am going to be applying for myself as well, as always. But I’m just gonna say the next time that you’re feeling down in the dumps, or overwhelmed with things that are going on in life, remember that you can always practice gratitude, even if it’s for the smallest things. For example, yesterday I lost my keys for over an hour. So today, I’m grateful that I have known where my keys are every moment of this day, but there have been days where maybe I didn’t feel like getting out of the house or something and then someone smiles and asks me how I’m doing, and so that’s something that you could practice gratitude for, or that would be something that I’ve practiced gratitude for in the past. So that is my little tip on how you can keep doing a happy dance in your own life.

Alright, I will catch you all next time.


The Happy Dance Podcast: Episode #3

Read the podcast transcript below or click HERE to download the PDF!

Hi there! My name is Saumirah McWoodson, and I’m the founder and CEO of Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools, and I’m also a dance education researcher and business consultant at And I’m the host of The Happy Dance Podcast where we talk about all things related to dance, education, and cultivating a life of happiness. So, let’s dance!

Hello! Again, my name is Saumirah McWoodson, and you are listening to Episode 3 of The Happy Dance Podcast! So thank you very much for tuning and I’m so excited that you have decided to join me either for the third time or perhaps for the very first time. So again, in this podcast, I will be talking about all things related to dance, education, and cultivating a life of happiness. So, In Episode 2, I talked about community and about surrounding yourself with fantastic, great, wonderful people who will enhance and inspire your life in a positive way. So today I’m going to switch it up a little bit and I’ll jump into that in a second.

I don’t want to forget I actually want to first tell you why I’m doing a happy dance.

So today, I’m doing a happy dance because I’m having a wonderful summer. I’m keeping busy, and I’m getting a lot of things accomplished, but also, tomorrow is my birthday. And I absolutely love birthdays, I love holidays, and I love excuses, to spend quality time with great people, like I mentioned in my last podcast! So I’m very excited that tomorrow’s my birthday and I have plans with friends tomorrow evening and for later on this weekend as well. So that is why I am currently doing a happy dance.

Okay, so now to dive into what I wanna talk about today. I previously mentioned that I’m researching dance educator preparation and pathways to long-term careers for dance educators in the United States.

Okay, so today I’m actually going to comment on an article about service learning practice in higher education in dance education.

Okay, so I’m gonna give you a little bit more of my background in dance education, and how I came to essentially teach dance and to start some dance education organizations. So I pretty much grew up as a competition dancer. I studied at a large school for the performing arts in Daly City, California. So, you can read this in my bio on my website, at I studied at Westlake School for the Performing Arts in Daly City, California, from when I was about four or five years old, until I was about 13 years old, and then my family moved and I started dancing at a different, a few different other studios in the East Bay of California.

As far as my teaching experience, although I studied dance as a student at the pre-professional level and had experience competing in dance for several years, I didn’t really get any teaching experience until I was in my very early 20s and I went to study abroad in Marburg, Germany. So the summer before I was in Germany, I actually was a participant in a program called Camp Adventure or Camp Adventure Youth Services, so we basically ran really awesome summer programs, or year-round programs depending on what track you were on, for the children of United States service men and women. So I spent a summer in Brussels, Belgium, with Camp Adventure then I went right into studying abroad in Marburg, Germany. And somewhere in that time I had my first experience teaching dance. So I taught, I believe one class at United States Army Garrison Bamberg, I believe, to a small group of students, which was really fun, just kind of as a camp counselor type of person. I did that as part of my internship. I wasn’t paid for it. And then when I studied abroad, I taught a couple of classes, I substitute taught some classes, at very Fairy Tale Dance Studio, which is just outside of Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

So that was… Those were pretty much my first two experiences teaching dance ever in my life. And so, that’s interesting in my opinion, because I know a lot of people who work as dance educators or who start their own dance companies and their own dance studios, they have different tracks toward becoming professional dance educators, and so I think a lot of people do have that similar experience of, they are students and then they teach.

However, I did not have the experience of studying dance as an undergraduate student. I did spend one year studying dance education at the graduate level, and completing some graduate work in the Dance Education Master’s Program at New York University and that was during the same time that I earned my American Ballet Theatre Teacher Certification in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT National Training Curriculum. So I basically had almost no experience teaching and then I jumped into a graduate program, in dance education so that I could learn how to teach. I always felt I was very… Again, I was in my early 20s then, but I felt like that experience as well, set me aside from a lot of people who were in my cohort in that program because many of them had undergraduate degrees in dance, or something related to the arts. There were a couple of people who had some degrees in Biological Sciences and things like that, but I kind of always felt a little bit of an odd ball out because I was a competition dancer, which I felt was a little bit looked down upon and I had been a varsity cheerleader in high school. So I felt like I definitely wasn’t coming from this–even though I had studied the Vaganova method of classical ballet and I had trained at the pre-professional level–I didn’t feel like I had this ivory tower training, when I entered my graduate program in dance education. Anyway, I came back to California, and I essentially started Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools, sort of right away, with only teaching a couple of classes in my early 20s, and then doing a year in a graduate program in dance education and becoming an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher.

Okay, so I want to talk more about my background and tell you what Dance Daze in Schools has done. So the reason I’m interested in this article that I was reading (and I’m going to grab it here) . . . So this article is in the journal of Dance Education in Practice Volume 5, Number 1, and it’s from this year, 2019. The article is called Developing a Service Learning Project Within a University Choreography Course. It’s by, I believe this is how you say her name, Ali Duffy. She’s an associate professor of dance at Texas Tech University.

So that’s the article that caught my eye and the reason it caught my eye is because I really love service learning. And I’m not quite sure at this moment where that interest and passion began for me, but I know with some of my earliest work with Dance Daze in Schools, that’s exactly what I was doing, I was working to create service learning opportunities for college students, even though I was not in any way a university professor, a college professor, and I was actually doing this both before and while I was earning my Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of the Pacific.

So if you want some examples of what kind of stuff I was doing, you can go ahead and go to Again, that’s And there you’ll find a couple of blogs that I wrote myself, but you’ll also find blogs that were written by my service learning interns that were working for or volunteering for Dance Daze in Schools.

And so there are two particular experiences that I helped to facilitate or took the lead on with Dance Daze in Schools, and one was with UC Berkeley with their Chan Fellows Program, so that was really awesome. I was able to work with an extreme student from China who was a Chan Fellow and she helped to start a dance program at a Mandarin immersion school in Oakland, California, as part of her fellowship requirements, but also as part of being a service learning intern with my organization, Dance Daze in Schools. So that was really awesome. And she worked with dances and schools for an entire year.

And again, if you go to, you’ll be able to find some photos. And she has a couple of posts up there that she wrote herself, and so that’s really great. And then the other service learning program that I was able to develop was in partnership with St. Mary’s College of California which is in Moraga, California, and there, the leadership program or the service learning internship program, that I partnered with on their campus was called the Bonner Leaders program with the Bonner Leadership Program.

It was a little bit similar to the Chan Fellows program, in that my interns had to complete a certain number of service hours giving to the community each week. There had to be some sort of reflection each week, that sort of thing. They were different because these students at St. Mary’s College of California, they were not extreme students, they were just getting their degrees from St. Mary’s College. So those were some of my, I guess my most streamlined experiences with developing and partnering with other organizations to help design this service learning experience with using dance as the medium. And so basically, I used to spend a lot of time emailing people and calling people for hours every day, essentially, and that’s how I found these programs and how I got in touch with these, these two individuals. One was named Ryan and one was named Sunshine. I got to partner with them and participate in these great programs. Then I got these interns matched with Dance Daze in Schools, and then I personally went out and I found schools for the interns to work with, so schools that were in typically, they were under-served communities or they did not have a dance program already, things like that. I was able to find public schools each time. So even though I personally as an academic, as a classroom teacher, I’ve only personally taught in private and charter schools with Dance Daze in Schools, I’ve actually worked with a lot of public schools and a couple of charter schools as well.

Okay, so, so now I wanna dive in. So that’s kind of my background in developing these service learning internships. I also wanna say that I was fortunate that in partnering with these programs that the interns were paid and so that’s something that’s always been important to me. I know that when I was a college student, there were tons of opportunities that were available but a lot of them were free.

And I’m a big advocate of volunteering, I’ve been a member of several volunteer organizations in my life, including as an active member, formerly, of Alpha Phi Omega National Co-ed Service Fraternity, which I joined when I was an undergraduate student.

So service is a big part of what I do, but I also think it’s important, when possible, to pay people for doing quality work.

And so I am proud that Dance Daze in Schools has always been able to pay our interns even if they are completing more of a service learning project, even if they are working as interns, they are paid interns. So I’m very proud of that. That I’ve been able to do that. Whether it was just through Dance Daze in Schools or whether it was in partnership with other community organizations, colleges, and educational foundations and that sort of thing.

Okay, so in this article, again, I’m not sure if I’m saying her name correctly, but I believe it’s Ali Duffy. She talks about basically how she started to incorporate a service learning component into her university choreography course. She talks about how she just wanted to sort of restructure the class that she had been teaching for a couple of years, and how it coincided with her recently founding a non-profit dance company and forming partnerships with community organizations and that sort of thing.

She talks about how she re-worded the description of the course, how she supported the college students in leading the courses for their partner organization, which happened to be a school that served middle school-age children.

And then the article goes on to talk about some different aspects that they incorporated it into their teaching, so a lot of elements of dance, a lot of improvisation, a lot of choreography techniques, the college students were teaching to the middle school students, and so I thought that was really great. The college met with their students that they were teaching, the younger students, twice per week maximum and they had to, after each day of working with the students, they had to write a reflection paper and reflect on questions such as: What did you observe? How is your experience similar or different than you expected? What impacts the way you view this experience? What did you learn about the people or this community? How can you apply this experience to other experiences now or in your future? How do you sense our class and the Talkington class are affected, impacted or experience experiencing each other? What surprised you about this experience?

One thing I really liked about this article is that she pretty much lays out how she supported the college students. There was a lot of debriefing. There was a lot of reflection, which is a core part of a core component of service learning. She talks about how she made sure that her university students had a bit of a background in classroom behavior management, and they talked about different ways to approach more challenging situations in the dance classroom. And so I think that that’s really awesome. I think that’s a piece that’s missing for a lot of newer dance educators who don’t necessarily have a background in teaching in the classroom already.

And so, one thing I really liked that’s mentioned in this article is that she says, Duffy states that the teacher of the students with the community organization with whom the university partnered, at the end she sent an email and told Duffy that she appreciated that her students were “exposed to elements of dance, improvisation, and choreography as a communicator of meaning as opposed to a series of steps to replicate and perform.”

And so I thought that was just… If you’re interested, you can go through read the article you can find it in online if you have access to this journal. Again, it’s in Dance Education and Practice, Volume 5, Number 1, 2019. But anyway, I just found it really awesome the way that she describes the way in which she helped her students teach dance, or use dance to teach, I guess, sort of life skills or ways to kind of observe or take in information and to act and react in different life situations. I think that’s what’s important about teaching dance through a service or community-based opportunity, instead of the traditional either studio dance classes or professional or pre-professional dance classes. There is definitely, with the service learning component, there’s so much of an emphasis on giving back as a citizen and helping to create responsible and engaged and empathetic citizens, I believe.

So that’s all of interest to me.

So I wanted to say, for my personal take-aways I think that this is just absolutely great and I’m interested personally in going out, and I’m sure I will, again, (I’m not sure if you listen to my previous podcast, but I am a doctoral student at the University of the Pacific, so this is all within my realm of research) but I really want to go out and look more into what kind of educational opportunities, dance programs, either undergraduate or graduate-level dance programs in the United States are providing for their students.

And I also, as part of that, I would love to know more about which of those programs are providing specifically service learning opportunities and I would like to see how those differ or when students leave the program, how does that I guess their next steps after leaving college and the university, what’s the difference between the students who had a little bit of service learning experience through dance and those who did not? So that kind of interests me after looking at this article, and then it makes me curious as well. So I went in a lot about, I went into a lot about my background in dance and how I kind of I didn’t rush into teaching. I was definitely someone who I could have taught. There were a couple of studios in Stockton. If you know Stockton–yes, there are nice dance schools in Stockton. There are lots of awesome things in Stockton, actually, but some people don’t realize that I think because of rumors.

But anyway, I didn’t jump at the opportunity to teach, I was a little bit shy, but I was also kind of . . . I’m someone who definitely learns from observing, and I like to take things in and I never want to do anything until I feel prepared. So as I get older, that’s changing a little bit. And I think that’s also coming with accepting, realizing, claiming ownership of my experience, of my knowledge, of my education that I’ve had so far, but definitely when I was in my late teens, early 20s, just entering adulthood, I was not someone who was very much like… “Yeah, I know what I’m doing. Let me teach this class!”

So with that, I didn’t have a lot of teaching experience I was a student of dance for a very long time, and so, anyway, getting back on track, reading this article makes me curious about how the majority or what are some other ways that people are getting training to become dance educators?

So I think it is common that people, they start studying at studios and then they get an opportunity to teach and they jump at it and suddenly they’re dance teachers.

So for me, I think it’s different because I have that studio background and then I also have some pre-professional training experience in classical ballet as I mentioned, and I also had the great fortune of being able to observe and learn about dance in a professional environment at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, School at ABT when I was completing the certification there and studying in New York. And then also for me, which I think is really important and unique about the way that I view dance education and the way that I view my classes and the way that I view all of the teachers with whom I work, especially the college students, is that I have my Master of Arts Degree in Education so specifically in Curriculum and Instruction. And also with that, before I taught a class on my own, I participated in and completed an intensive teacher residency program while I was earning my Master’s degree, so every week, I had a full day of theory and discussion and debate and reading articles and reflecting on articles with my cohort, and then for the other four days in a week, I was in a classroom studying, under a master teacher. So I had that unique experience where I was not just thrown into a classroom of second grade students. I had a year of intensive training where I got to sit back and observe, and I got critiqued every day, and I got recorded, and I got to watch myself teaching and to comment on what mistakes I made, and I got to reflect on why I was not able to certain students, and why some students were not learning, and how could I make the information more accessible to all of my students. I had a year of that, a solid year of that. And so as a classroom teacher, I think that makes me different from many of my peers who were just kind of thrown into a classroom and said, “Okay this is your internship year while you are earning your Bachelor’s or your accelerated Master’s! You’re just gonna teach this class all on your own because you have a substitute credential!” or something like that.

And so I’m also curious as to what… What are kind of the common ways that most people who end up having a long-term career in dance education, how do they come to that? Is it common that most people who become dance educators or professional dance teaching artists I wonder if it’s common that they do participate in university courses, that they attend college to obtain these positions.

And so those are some of the thoughts that came into my mind as I was reading this article. And then finally one of my final thoughts or questions is: Where can people who don’t go to college, but who want to teach dance, where can they get this kind of learning and teaching experience in dance? So I guess I just, if you wanna comment on this, tell me how did you become a dance educator? How did you come into a space of opening your own studio? Those are the kind of questions I have because, like I said, I have my own experience but when I’m go out into the world now to continue my learning and my training in dance so far, I’m doing that with people who are at the university level, studying dance.

So when I went to participate in the Dance Education Lab’s program in Los Angeles, we were at a university at Loyola Marymount and we were with most people there were dance majors, or they were already professional dance educators, and so we were in that again, that kind of ivory tower world and the students were getting that awesome dance training.

Or last summer when I studied at the Sacramento Ballet and participated in that summer intensive, well, all the students there clearly are getting that professional level of training already. So what about the people who aren’t studying in these professional schools of dance? Or what about for those who are not attending college, and getting degrees in dance, or in choreography or in performance, dance education? I’m wondering is there still space for those individuals to become professional dance educators and to make a career out of it, and if so, how are they doing it? And then if not, why?

So, those are my thoughts. And I just wanted to bring it back to dance a little bit. So again, I was reading from or I had some little excerpts that I read from this article in the Dance Education in Practice journal, Volume 5, Number 1. And the title of the article, again, is “Developing a Service Learning Project Within a University Choreography Course.” And if you are interested in continuing this conversation with me or sharing with me your background in dance education or maybe it’s separate kind of like me, if you wanna show your background in dance and your background in education with me, feel free to email me. My email address is

So you sell that “s” as in “Sam,” a-u, “m” as in “Mary”, i-r-a-h at, and I will put that in my show notes! But thank you so much for tuning in to Episode 3 of The Happy Dance, and I really look forward to chatting with you again, next week. And let’s see . . . I think that I’m going to leave you with these words this time, so that you can continue cultivating that life of happiness.

I think that something that was emphasized in this podcast, in my opinion, is just that lifelong learning. So if you love something, challenge yourself to keep learning about it, keep diving in.

I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but . . . YOLO! Which means, “You only live once.” I respect you if you believe something different, but that’s kind of an expression that sort of reminds me to keep pushing forward and to keep learning and experiencing as much as I can. So definitely just keep diving in and keep seeking opportunities and experience in the things that you love.

Okay, so thanks again for listening and I will catch you next time.