There’s a new dance in town: Cotillion
, 2014

There’s a new dance in town: Cotillion

The Junior Cotillion of the Northern Neck recently organized.

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The Grand March, which teaches proper escort posture, pairs dance partners at the beginning of each Cotillion. From left are Audrey Beringer and Erik DeMario.

Some 48 young ladies and gentlemen in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, from six public and private schools in the Northern Neck, are learning ballroom dances and other social skills under the tutelage of dance instructor Katie Jett and etiquette guide Ginger Philbrick 

The Cotillion began, under the direction of its founder, Kimberly Vail of Irvington, on November 22 and will continue into late spring, reported Philbrick.

“The Junior Cotillion was part of growing up and I wanted to have it available to the children in the Northern Neck area,” said Vail, whose son, John attends.

“I wanted moments that would impact the rest of their lives, such as instruction in how to observe small courtesies and always make a good first impression, and how to feel comfortable in a formal setting,” said Vail.

Each dance program will last an hour-and-a-half, but the lessons learned last a lifetime, she said.

“In a progressive world where traditional values are often overlooked, the Junior Cotillion provides a program focused on bringing social skills and strong character back into the spotlight,” said Vail.

When students said their polite good-byes last Friday night, they had lessons in the Hustle and Foxtrot in their dance repertoire, said Philbrick.  Also, they had learned the proper way to make self-introductions (including the correct way to shake hands); correct posture; the importance of thank-you notes; how to politely extend, and refuse, an invitation to dance; and how to tie a necktie.

Parents serve as chaperones and provide refreshments for appetites that are whetted by social exercises. Through the generosity of Cathy Carr of Rappahannock Florist, the hall will continue to be made elegant each month with flower arrangements atop roman pillars, providing the gateway to the dance floor.

“We are immensely grateful to Carr,” said Philbrick. “She has provided the Cotillion atmosphere that makes the event festive, a special time.”

The Cotillion will meet once a month at Grace House at Grace Episcopal Church, Kilmarnock. It will conclude the season in April with a formal dinner and a lesson in table etiquette, followed by an evening of dancing.

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