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For Parents of Members

The Martine Cotillions encourages families to attend and watch.   We find that parental presence 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.

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.

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.  

the program

3rd and 4th Graders enjoy dancing Cha Cha at Cotillion

Special Parties

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 as well, making for a great night for photos! 

Program Highlights

Please Note:  Grade combinations and content vary by community.


Manners and Etiquette





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

Chewing Gum

How to start and maintain a conversation

Posture and body language




Consideration and respect for others


Acting Shy

Facial expressions

Striving to affect others in positive ways


What it really means to be a lady or a gentleman

Remembering names

Sitting position

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

The Dances

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

Supper Club

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

and more



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