The Happy Dance Podcast: Episode #1

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

Hi there! My name is Saumirah McWoodson, founder and CEO of Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools and dance education researcher and business consultant. And you are listening to The Happy Dance Podcast. Let’s dance!

Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to The Happy Dance Podcast! This is my very first podcast ever, so it’s going to be short and sweet and I’m really just gonna be using this one as a place-holder and to make sure that I can actually successfully publish a podcast.

But, before we dive in–and we’re really gonna dive in next week, again, after I know that I can actually do this–I want to introduce myself really quickly. So, my name is Saumirah McWoodson. I’m the founder and CEO of two dance organizations. One is called Dance Daze, Inc. and the other is Dance Daze in Schools. And essentially, with Dance Daze, Inc., we provide studio classes in the Greater Sacramento Area in California, and then with Dance Daze in Schools we provide programs for kids at elementary schools also in the same area. With Dance Daze in Schools, I’m really proud that I have been able to offer programs at schools in New York City, in Washington, D.C., and at a variety of schools in the San Francisco Bay Area as well. But currently, both Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools are based in the Sacramento, California area. I also recently started a dance education consulting business, and I’m doing that at DanceEdStartup.com. So that’s pretty much what’s keeping me busy.

As far as my educational background, I am a current doctoral student at the University of the Pacific, and I’m researching dance educator training and preparation in the United States and also long-term job opportunities for dance educators in the United States. So that’s what I’m working on for the purposes of my dissertation. Then, I’m a Pacific alumna a couple of times. So I have my Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of the Pacific and also my Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of the Pacific, and I also have a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Pacific. I love that school, apparently. And I taught elementary school for six years. So I’ve taught mainly second grade. But I most recently taught kindergarten, and then several years ago I taught, I co-taught first grade as well. So that’s . . . those are the basics about me, my educational background . . . Let’s see . . . I’m also an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher in Primary through Level 5 of the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. And I am a proud and heavily involved dog mom of two rescues. They’re both terrier mixes, named Henry and Benji.

And I’m sure I will let you in on tons of other little tidbits about my life in future episodes. But basically, this podcast is going to focus on everything related to dance, education, and cultivating a life of happiness.

So, thank you for listening to my very first episode! And I hope to catch you again very soon! And if you want to follow me online or learn more about me, you can go to DanceEdStartup.com–thats’ my website for my digital course. You can also find my blog at DanceDaze.org/Blog. I’ll be posting a new blog every Monday with a freebie inside of every blog, so be sure to check that out. And those freebies are going to be of interest to dance educators, early career dance educators, or people running studios that want to give quick and easy products to their newer dance educators. You can find me on Instagram @DanceDazeInc–so that’s d-a-n-c-e-d-a-z-e-i-n-c. There’s also an Instagram for Dance Daze in Schools. It’s just @DanceDazeInSchools. And then my personal Instagram is MissMcWoodson, @MissMcWoodson. So I don’t think I pronounce my name the way that it’s spelled, but it’s @-m-i-s-s my last name is m-c-w-o-o-d-s-o-n.

So I think those are enough Internet links to find me for now. I spend a lot of time online, so I have a lot of ats, a lot of avatars, a lot of urls. Thanks again for listening, and I hope to catch you next week! Bye!

I’m teaching my first class tomorrow.

They say that the secret to happiness and abundance in life is to have more beginnings than endings. I’m not sure if that’s possible, but I surely love starting new things. So tomorrow, I’m launching #DanceDazeSacramento — new weekday children’s classes in Sacramento, California, for my studio-based dance organization, Dance Daze, Inc.

If you’ve known me for a while, or even if you’ve been following me for the past few months via DanceEdStartup.com, I’m sure you also know that I’ve been building up my dance organizations–Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools–for about a decade now! I’ve taught dance classes myself for my businesses in different cities and in different spaces, such as schools, community centers, country clubs, and synagogues. I’ve partnered with charter school management organizations and local educational organizations in my city to bring after-school enrichment classes and seasonal camps to students at elementary schools. I’ve worked with universities and high schools to develop and implement paid service-learning internships for college students and high school students as well. Today, I’m working on building my performance program with Dance Daze, Inc., expanding my studio classes to a new city, researching dance educator training in the United States for my doctoral dissertation, and developing a digital course for early career dance educators. So yes, perhaps it is safe to say that, at least with Dance Daze things, I’ve successfully had more beginnings than endings. And I suppose the secret to that success is that I simply never stop. When it comes to getting what I want, I’m pretty relentless (the way all the greats are in my mind).

Now, I’ve done the base work that I walk my students through in my Dance Ed Startup course–I’ve found a beautiful location for my classes, I’ve done some marketing (though, there’s always more marketing that can be done!), and tomorrow is the big day!

Of course, like most of you who have been teaching dance for years, I know in my head what I’ll need to teach. I have my playlists created. My props are organized. Essentially, I’ve got this down. However, I also strongly believe that “A failure to plan is a plan for failure.”

So, I created this little document to make sure I have everything, absolutely everything, I will need to teach a single 45-minute jazz and hip hop dance class to 4 to 6 year old children tomorrow morning.

Like I said, I literally wrote the list, so I’m sure I already know what’s on it. But, when the adrenaline rush hits tomorrow and I’m rushing out of my front door to teach, I will do a quick check of the list, just to be safe.

Click here to grab the Dance Daze® First Class Checklist for yourself, and be sure to check back here at The Happy Dance Blog each week for a new post and likely a new freebie as well.

Have a great week!

Saumirah

Do It for the One

Rachel Hollis talked about it on Amy Porterfield‘s podcast. She said, “We created it for her. The podcast was for her. The second podcast was for her. We’re having the response that we have because the style was entirely my own but the content is in response to what she’s asking for.”

When I think of all my Dance Daze students (both at the studio and at schools across the United States) and when I look at all the memories I have created for my businesses: I think of one child, one day, one family, one teacher, one moment.

When I think of starting that Dance Daze in Schools program in the Bronx, New York, I remember how rewarding it felt to bring in that one male teacher who wore glasses and had grown up there. I remember feeling that, in bringing him onto the team, I got to, in a teeny tiny way, be part of his experience of giving back to the community that raised him. I got to be part of him waking up every day as a successful man, human, and teaching artist.

When I think of the school in Oakland, California, where I had the privilege of teaching dance for an entire year, I remember that group of 6 middle school boys and girls who asked me why I smiled and laughed so much. I told them it was because I was happy.

And when I look at photos and videos of all the performances we are doing today, I’m overwhelmed to be part of creating magical moments for each of my students. I’m overjoyed to be part of helping them fall in love with the art of dance. But really, when I see 15 of my students showing up and dancing on these California roads with me, I think of her. I think of her mom looking at me in my eyes and saying, “She wants to perform. She’s ready.” I remember feeling the responsibility of providing positive performance opportunities for her when her dad asked me when we would be performing.

So when I look at them, I see her. One child, one family, one day, one moment.

And I’m so so grateful that by focusing on the one that I get to be part of the lives of many.

Are you interested in learning more about what I focus on in order to best serve my clients (my students and their families)? Go to www.DanceEdStartup.com and join my mailing list! Each week, people on my mailing list are getting dance-related business tips in my video series called “Two Tips” and this month (May of 2019) they’re also getting a live webinar every Sunday morning! Sign up today!