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Texas cotillions continue long-standing tradition

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The word “cotillion” conjures up images of long-gone elegance, elbow-length gloves, classical music, and ballgowns swishing rhythmically across a dancefloor. While a cotillion was originally a formal social dance only, these days the word is just as likely to mean a series of classes teaching the art of social interaction.

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Far from having vanished, Texas cotillions are popping up across the state. Etiquette East Texas offers cotillion programs in Tyler, Longview, and surrounding towns. Several Austin dance studios offer cotillions in central Texas and the Texas hill country. In the Bryan-College Station area, Susan’s Ballroom Dance conducts a winter cotillion for teens and pre-teens. Registration is underway for the BCS cotillion, with classes capped off by a formal ball—the original cotillion dance.

“The kids like the classes, but they love the ball,” says Susan Quiring, owner of Susan’s Ballroom Dance and instructor of the BCS cotillion classes. “They enter under a saber arch presented by Ross Volunteers and then are formally introduced to the ball.” Ross Volunteer Company is an elite unit of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets. It is the oldest honor guard and drill team of its kind in the state, and serves as the official Honor Guard for the Governor of the State of Texas.

“The return to traditional values is bringing about an increasing appreciation of good manners. Polished manners and superb social skills will play an essential role in the bright future we envision for our children,” continues Quiring.

National organizations also offer cotillions in some parts of Texas. Chaplin Cotillions holds events in Austin, Dallas, Waco, and other locations. The National League of Junior Cotillions sponsors chapters in numerous Texas counties, and Jon D. Williams cotillions are held nationwide.

With all the opportunities for the upcoming generation to participate in cotillions, maybe the concept isn’t long-gone after all. Cheers to today’s cotillion!

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