The Martine Cotillions

Today, sports and academics dominate children’s lives.  Cell phones, television, popular music and video games are often negative inputs. Texting has replaced face to face conversation as the preferred form of communication.  Many parents feel strongly that practice in the social arena is becoming ever more important to balance these other influences and help to create a well-rounded child, one equipped to handle the future with self-assurance and aplomb.

At Cotillion, children learn the importance of good manners by practicing with their peers.  Cotillion is not a lecture, but rather, a party - a party that is led by skilled directors who continually keep the children focused on the importance of whatever they are doing.  Whether dancing with a partner, shaking hands with an adult host, practicing polite conversation or learning the techniques of dining etiquette, members of Cotillion truly enjoy themselves as they practice social interactions.

What sets us apart from other Cotillions is the emphasis we put on conveying the importance of personal responsibility and leadership.  We encourage our young members to think beyond the basics of good manners, not just what good manners are and when to use them, but why.  Empowerment comes from knowing we can affect the world around us.  Thinking like a leader stems not only from self-confidence, but from an awareness of how our actions and words affect others.

Manners are really a language with its own unique set of rules, grammar and vocabulary.  With manners we communicate using demeanor and gestures, tone of voice, facial expression, body language and simple phrases.  The more we know of this language and the greater our comfort in using it, the deeper our self-confidence, and ultimately, our success.  The Martine Cotillions provides an invitational social development program for third through eighth grades which gives them a place to practice this language of manners both with adults and with each other. A child who learns to handle the variety of social skills required of successful membership in the mini-world of Cotillion is one who will be better able to handle the wide variety of situations which must be confronted in the increasingly demanding real world. 

Since 1857, five generations of the Martine family have nurtured the self-confidence of young people as they learn and practice the manners and high personal standards that are perennially important for a lasting society.  We intend that the poise and ease of manner our members develop over the course of many seasons of Cotillion will become a natural part of who they are and smooth the way for personal excellence.

Chapters of

The Martine Cotillions



Claremont Foothills

Huntington Beach

Laguna Beach

Long Beach

Mesa Verde

Newport Beach

Newport Harbor


Rancho Santa Fe

Santa Barbara

South Orange County



Villa Park

Yorba Linda




“If I’d had something like this, adolescence might have been a little less painful.”

“Thank you for your Cotillions backing up all the things my husband and I have taught our children through the years.  They believed what they’d heard when they heard it from you too.”

“You have such a wonderful way with them.  You refer to them as ladies and gentlemen, expect them to behave accordingly, and they do!”


Explore Inside:


Experienced professionals with a personal touch.


Program highlights and the philosophy behind The Martine Cotillions


What to wear to Cotillion - and why!


The Martine family’s Cotillions for over 150 years - since 1857.


Find out what current and former members and their parents have to say!


See Team photos depicting the Themes from previous Season Finale Costume Parties.



Find those opinionated editorials and recommended reading  on Miss Martine’s page.


Practice Makes Perfect by Gena Martine Santoni

As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  These days it seems life is moving faster than ever, and our sense of time passing is approaching light-speed.  Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration.  But I know you know what I mean.

Most people I talk to are experiencing some version of time-scarcity.  Our to-do lists are never ending and everyone is always rushing to and fro, hither and thither, to do this or that, with barely a moment to spare for brief conversation as we sail past one another, on to the next event or errand.

This time-scarcity mind-set makes time ever more precious, and so our tendency is to try to cram as much into every moment that we possibly can.  We want both the most bang for our buck and for our precious minutes.  We finish one thing from our agenda, only to ask, “What now? What’s next?”  It seems we live each day as if we exist merely to cross another item off our list.  We want everything to be better, faster, easier, more convenient, so we can go on to the next thing and check the next box.  Moving along seems to be what matters rather than any depth of experience, or even enjoyment.

While I understand this compulsion myself, I also know that some things simply take the time they take, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  Sure, sometimes we can benefit from multitasking.  We can talk on the phone while we fold the laundry.  We can listen to an audio book or record voice memos, while we are driving.  But when it comes to quality time, adding in more quantity of content is not always better.  Sometimes enough is plenty.

This especially applies to learning.  Too much too quickly does not add value, but instead handicaps comprehension and retention.  Learning, whatever the subject, takes time.  It takes repetition.  It takes practice.  Repetition and practice are the only real ways to gain mastery, bit by bit.

more . . .

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The Martine Cotillions provides a fun way for children to learn and practice important manners and build self-awareness that will smooth social interactions in all facets of life - and for the rest of their lives.