3rd Graders dancing Cha Cha on their very first day of Cotillion.
At The Martine Cotillions, our goal is to provide our members with a multiple-year experience, one that will give them knowledge and skills beyond the norm and that will help them to excel in life. The mini-world of Cotillion presents a variety of unique experiences, and those children who learn to handle them well carry with them a quiet confidence and self-assurance that serves them well in the increasingly complicated everyday world. Self-confidence certainly makes life easier, and with the tools and practice Cotillion helps to provide, one can step forward with the assurance of knowing what is correct and expected.
Each season of Cotillion builds upon the last, adding more knowledge and know-how as the children grow older and more capable. The purpose of the first several years of cotillion is to provide a strong foundation of practice in interacting with one another as ladies and as gentlemen. As with all successful learning, repetition is the key, and the children perceive different nuances as their own frames of reference broaden with life experience.
In junior high - a time in the lives of most children when their confidence and manners are tested - the years spent at Cotillion can provide a solid foundation when other children around them are testing the world. Also, the adult supervised boy-girl activity gives them a safe place to interact with one another and practice behaving with respect and decorum - something we can all agree is often lacking in our increasingly casual lives.
Aside from the dancing skills and the confidence resulting from such abilities, the greatest value of Cotillion lies in the area of increased self-esteem based on actual accomplishment rather than mere lip service. It is our goal that every child who completes the cotillion experience will be able to walk through any door and handle whatever is on the other side. As children approach adolescence they especially benefit from the positive peer influence encouraged within the atmosphere of Cotillion. We are often gratified to hear how Cotillion graduates stand out because of their unusual poise and confidence, and their natural and unaffected respectful behavior.
As the members continue to succeed in the social exercises practiced at Cotillion they will develop a basic life-script which can be rewritten to fit any number of future social and business situations.
Please Note: Grade combinations and content vary by community.
MANNERS AND ETIQUETTE
Informal, Couple, Self, to Adults
Choosing, walking with, properly seating and talking with partners
When and where a gentleman offers his arm
Smiles and sincere thankyous are a form of repayment
Standing for a lady and others to show respect
Serving refreshments and thank yous
Requesting to be excused
Making a Great Impression
How to thank your host at a party
Firm handshakes and eye contact
Speaking up confidently and enunciating
Appropriate attire for different activities
How to start and maintain a conversation
Posture and body language
Consideration and respect for others
Striving to affect others in positive ways
What it really means to be a lady or a gentleman
Whispering in the background
Knowing when it is time to pay attention - and doing it
Do only as invited
Waiting your turn
Turning your back on someone
Arriving late/leaving early
Taking cues from host and hostess
Selfies and other photos
Discounting those around us by giving attention to our devices.
For Parents of Members
We encourages families to attend to watch and listen and take the occasional photo, of course! We find that the presence of their parents gives the children support and reinforces the importance of the activity in their eyes. So, if your older child begs you not to come, understand those feelings, but come anyway! It’s natural for children to push away and it’s our job as adults to proactively guide and support them - whether or not they always agree. (Attire for guests can be found on the Dress Code page.)
Cotillion is a great activity to bring grandparents and other family members to observe. Cameras are always welcome. Visiting children are invited to enjoy refreshments and, when time allows, to participate in a fun novelty dance.
We look forward to seeing you at Cotillion regularly. The more you attend Cotillion, the more relaxed the children become, the stronger their continuing interest, and the greater their accomplishments.
Members having fun playing a balloon game at a Holiday Party.
Costumed members dance Bunny Hop at the Costume Party.
Each season members will enjoy two special parties. These parties are marked by incredible decorations, special refreshments, additional fun novelty dances and, for the older children, a live band.
The first of these is The Holiday Party, a formal party with ice cream sundaes for the members and visiting children. Festive holiday decorations, music and sparkling lights create a magical atmosphere the whole family will enjoy.
The second of these parties in the Costume Extravaganza in the spring. Each year, a special theme is announced and the ballroom is transformed into a storybook land. The Cotillion Team members are transformed as well into characters befitting the theme, and the members come in costume too, making it a great night for photos!
A two year cycle including dining and dancing, building upon the manners practiced at Cotillion.
Helping ladies with chairs, coats, doors, etc.
Proper placement and use of silverware
Interacting with waiters
Responsibility toward other guests and toward partner
Proper placement and use of silverware, including Continental and Western styles
Sitting Position at the table
Chewing with mouth closed
Appropriate conversation topics
Awkward situations and how to deal with them
Buffet etiquette and how much to serve oneself
How to Mingle at a party - entering and leaving conversational groups easily
Two and Three Course dinner dances
How to use chopsticks
How to use unique utensils like escargot tongs and lobster forks
Getting table conversation started
Cell phone use at the table
More steps and new dances are added each progressive season from 3rd through 8th Grade.
Multiple steps in Cha Cha, Waltz, Swing, and Fox Trot. At various times Samba, Conga or Tango may be included.
Novelty dances include Mexican Hat Dance, Hokey Pokey, Limbo, Bunny Hop, Fast Polka, Electric Slide, and Virginia Reel