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


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.


Left To Their Own Devices by Gena Martine Santoni

They say people remember you for the way you make them feel, and this is observably true.  After all, as humans we tend to be self-centered creatures.  Not in the sense of being selfish, mind you.  It’s just that we see and feel things from our own perspective, through our own eyes and ears and minds, and therefore from the vantage point of the self.  Only by looking outward, by noticing the effect we are having on others can we take advantage of the above truism.  After all, it is hard to know how we are affecting others if we aren’t paying attention.

Paying attention, as a human past-time, is on the wane.  Why?  People are busy, their to-do lists are long and getting longer.  We go faster, multi-task more (it’s a myth, by the way) and therefore, pay attention less.  Well, at least to other people.  Our devices are getting plenty of attention.  The thing is, they don’t feel anything, no matter what Siri says.

Three random events intersected for me recently that really made me think about the impact of the devices in our lives on a more profound level.  The first was a commercial about an app for Kindle Fire which allows a parent to limit screen-time for their children.  The second was an encounter with a mother, her children and their iPad minis. The third was an article about how young adults are texting their parents from work - all day long.  These three events made me wonder, what is all of this screen-time doing to our children’s development?  Not just socially, but psychologically?

It is interesting that Kindle has created a way to help parents manage screen time for their children.  Obviously, this is a big issue if they have gone to the trouble to advertise something that limits the use of their product.  But why are parents having such a hard time with this in the first place?

As I said before, people are busy, and that means parents are really busy.  It is a huge temptation to hand a child a device to keep them occupied when we have so much to do.  The hand held devices 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.