Cotillion program coming to Suffolk

Published 8:53 pm Monday, February 6, 2012

If you’re wishing your children had a few more good manners and social graces, there’s a program for you coming to Suffolk.

The Junior Cotillion of Hampton Roads is expanding its offerings to include a program in Suffolk. Currently it offers programs in Newport News and Williamsburg.

“The idea is to promote self-esteem,” said Greg Martin, who owns the company with his wife Kay. “A lot of the good, old-fashioned manners and how to conduct yourself, they’ve kind of gone the way of the dinosaur. We’re kind of a throwback to the good old days.”
The program offers instruction in classic ballroom dances, manners, etiquette, social graces, Internet safety and more. It began in 1984 with a different set of owners, from whom the Martins bought the company.

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The program is open to boys and girls in fifth through ninth grades. Martin said he believes the program is important because everyone needs to have good manners.

“Those little things that you do, thank-you notes or the way you greet somebody, they mean a lot,” Martin said. “The more successful you are in interacting with people, the more you’re going to be successful.”

The pilot program will include four classes, as well as a culminating semi-formal ball. After the program, there will be an optional formal luncheon complete with a six-course meal.

But the program is far more than teaching the students which fork to use first, Martin said.

“We’ve gotten kind of hip with our etiquette lessons because we’ve even ventured into electronic etiquette, like when it’s appropriate and not appropriate to be texting,” Martin said.

The dancing portion of the program also covers contemporary as well as traditional dances. The “Cupid Shuffle” and “Macarena” line dances are taught right along with the waltz and the mambo, Martin said.

But some things never change — “Our evening always ends with the last waltz,” he said.

The program aims to get an equal number of boys and girls but has program alumni fill in when that’s not possible.

“Sometimes that’s a little bit difficult, because the young ladies seem to have more of an affinity for this than the boys do,” he said.

An open house is scheduled for Feb. 26 from 3 to 4 p.m. at West End Baptist Church, 105 St. James Ave. The classes will be held on the evenings of April 21 and 28 and May 12 and 19.

RSVPs are requested for the open house. To RSVP or for more information, call 868-3319.