Cotillion members learn proper social etiquette in addition to ballroom dance steps.

While cotillion is a social activity that provides dance lessons to adolescents, it also indoctrinates them in the basics of etiquette. Learning the do's and don'ts of introductions, table manners and attire may serve the cotillion members throughout the rest of their lives, long after the formal dance moves have been forgotten.

Making a Good First Impression

Cotillion members learn the verbal and nonverbal aspects of confidently introducing themselves. An upright posture, a firm handshake and proper eye contact help make a good first impression. Members also learn how to make introductions for others and how to pay and receive compliments.

Using the Right Fork

Table protocol and other dining etiquette are also lessons for Cotillion members. For example, at a place setting, the glass is on the right and the bread dish is on the left. Even the proper mechanics of eating are covered, such as how to sip soup and how to fill your fork with the appropriate amount of food.

Dressing to Impress

Cotillion facilitators explain that wearing proper attire not only shows respect for yourself, but it also shows respect for the people around you. Members are instructed on dressing formally for cotillion and also dressing for other activities, both casual and formal. Young women wear dresses to cotillion, and the young men wear suits and ties.