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  • What exactly is a cotillion / etiquette training?
    Traditionally the word cotillion was understood to be a social dance that was popular in the 18th-century Europe and America. Today the word is used to describe social etiquette training classes for young adults. These classes teach students proper manners and also instruct them on several social dances.
  • What makes the Austin Cotillion different from other cotillions?
    1) The Austin Cotillion truly is the FUN cotillion. Learning manners, etiquette, and social skills doesn't have to be boring. Our head etiquette instructor (Cody Fisher) is a former youth motivational speaker and professional comedian and magician. By adding a little comedy and magic to his etiquette presentations, the students are more likely to be actively engaged and therefore have a higher retention of the information. (It's O.K. to laugh and learn at the same time!) 2) Our unique game show "Mind Your Manners" will help your students remember more information in a shorter amount of time and have fun while learning. 3) Our head dance instructor (Debbie Fisher) is a professionally trained ballroom dancer and licensed occupational therapist. Your students will learn the social dances from a Bronze Certified dance instructor. If your child is nervous about the dancing component, there is no need to worry. Debbie has developed a very specific dance curriculum that gradually introduces "partner dancing" in a fun way. 4) The Austin Cotillion offers free online class reviews and online dance training videos. If your student has to miss a class or if your student just wants to review the information or dance steps from any of our classes, they can do so on our password protected free resources page. 5) Everything we do focuses on acceptance and respect, Our students understand that learning etiquette and manners is not about showing others that they are "better than" or "more sophisticated" than they are. In fact, it is the exact opposite. We learn manners and etiquette to show others just how much we respect them.
  • How long is each session?
    Each session runs for five weeks. During these five weeks, your students will attend five 90-minute classes. After the last class, there will be a Final Ball where students will have the opportunity to practice what they have learned and interact with their peers in a positive supportive environment.
  • When should I register my student?
    The Austin Cotillion classes fill up every session so we encourage you to register your student as soon as possible to avoid being on the wait list.
  • What should my child wear to class, on theme days, and to the final ball?
    Proper attire is very important for etiquette training. Regular Classes Boys should wear dress pants, dress shirt (tucked in), dress socks, dress shoes and a belt. Neckties are certainly preferred but not required. For the final class (formal dinner), boys are encouraged to wear a suit or blazer. Girls should wear a dress or skirt and blouse combination with dress shoes that are appropriate for dancing. Girls are encouraged to wear white gloves while dancing with a partner. Theme Classes We will typically have 1-2 theme classes during the course. Some past themes have included: 1) 50's Soc Hop Swing 2) Country Western Day 3) 80's Dance Party While students are encouraged to dress up for these theme days, it is not required. Parents are not expected to purchase any specific theme outfits. The Final Ball Girls should wear a dress or skirt and blouse combination with dress shoes that are appropriate for dancing. (Formals are optional) Girls are also encouraged to wear white gloves while dancing with a partner. Boys should wear dress pants, dress shirt (tucked in), dress socks, dress shoes, and a belt. Neckties are certainly preferred but not required. For the final class (formal dinner), boys are encouraged to wear a suit or blazer if possible. Note: The above recommendations are what students typically wear to our final ball. Parents are not expected to purchase any specific formals, dresses, or suits. As long as your child is dressed nice, that will suffice.
  • What are the classes like?
    During each class your student will be taught important social skills such as eye contact, introductions, dining etiquette, table manners, please & thank you, sir & ma'am, phone etiquette, social media etiquette, plus so much more. These concepts are taught during each session in a fun and interactive manner. When students are having fun, their retention is much better. Each class consists of etiquette training, social peer interaction, social dance lessons, and of course refreshments!
  • Why is dance taught as a part of etiquette training?
    The dance component of our etiquette training is a very important aspect of teaching social skills. Students are taught that partner dancing teaches respect, cooperation, & teamwork. All three of these skills are important for any type of social interaction.
  • What dances will my child learn?
    Dancing is a social activity that requires interpersonal as well as physical grace. Students will learn how to be a considerate and thoughtful dance partner in order to ensure a wonderful experience before, during, and after each dance. While there are many social dances, we focus on the most popular such as Waltz, Swing, Rumba, & Two-Step. We also teach many non-partner dances. The goal of the dance component is not to turn your child into a professional dancer. We want the students to know a few simple steps that will allow then to feel comfortable in any social dance environment.
  • For the dancing component of the class, how are students partnered up?
    Over the years we have developed a very casual and stress-free method for pairing up the students. It involves a simple rotation of dance partners which allows each student to dance with several different partners in any given class. This is important for several reasons. It gives the students the opportunity to meet many new classmates and to practice introducing themselves to each other. It also enables the students to get a feel for how different people dance and to learn how to adapt. The ability to introduce yourself and cooperate with others is a very important life skill. We also teach the students how to respectfully ask someone to dance and how to respectfully decline an offer in a real-world setting.
  • Are there always an equal number of boys and girls for dance partners?
    In a perfect world there would always be an equal number of boys and girls and most of the time the numbers are fairly equal. On occasions we have instructed classes where the girl / boy ratio is far from equal and we are still able to make it work so that our dance curriculum is satisfied. Students will still learn the proper etiquette for asking someone to dance and for respectfully declining an invitation to dance. Besides learning a few partner dances, students will also learn several popular non-partner dances they are likely to encounter at middle school dances and weddings.
  • During the refreshment break, how are the students matched up?
    During our refreshment break the students will have an opportunity to work on communication skills while enjoying a quick snack. We use this time to reinforce the principles of communication, mutual respect, and serving others. Sometimes the lines are separated randomly by girls and boys and sometimes they are allowed to be matched with friends. Learning to serve others is a valuable life skill. Sometimes boys and girls are matched together, while other times girls may be matched with girls and boys matched with boys. These variations give your students the opportunity to practice starting up a conversation with all different types of people whether they already know them or not.
  • What food / drink is served during the refreshment break?
    During the break we allow the students to take turns serving each other a cookie and lemonade. The cookie is either a simple sugar cookie or a chocolate chip cookie. The lemonade is either traditional or raspberry. (Water is also available) eNOTE: If your child has any dietary restrictions, please feel free to send them to class with whatever snack or beverage you would like for them to have.
  • If my student misses a class, can they make it up?
    While we do not offer make up classes or refunds for missed classes, we do have online support materials on our resources page. These materials are available for the duration of the session your child is registered for. Parents can access the classroom information and dance videos in order to catch the student up on any missed information. (You will be given the password on the first day of class)
  • Are these classes appropriate for shy students?
    Our experience shows that cotillions are perfect for shy children who would benefit from more social interaction with their peers. Since everyone there is doing this for the first time, there is quite of bit of peer support. Some children can be shy at first. This is usually never a problem as our classes are very fun and interactive. We try very hard to create a very supportive and understanding environment so that each student feels completely comfortable with what they are being asked to do.
  • Can parents and siblings attend the final ball?
    Each student registration includes a 5-course dinner at the Final Ball. Parents are welcome to attend the dinner but would need to purchase additional dinner tickets from our CLASSES page. Parents who are not paying for the dinner are welcome to join their student for the last 30 minutes of the Final Ball for a few fun dances, some awards, and dessert.
  • May we video tape our childs classes?
    While none of the instructional classes may be videotaped, we do encourage parents to take pictures at the final ball!
  • Can I volunteer to help out in classes or be a chaperone?
    Certainly! We always appreciate our parent volunteers. If you would like to volunteer let us know by getting in touch with us through our contact page.
  • What is your cancellation / refund policy?
    We are happy to give you a full refund up to four weeks (28 days) before the first class day. Anytime after that, no refund will be given.
  • Will Austin Cotillion send out e-mail reminders for classes and the final ball?
    We do not send out any e-mail reminders for the classes or final ball. All of the dates, times, and locations are listed here on our site under the CLASSES tab. Once you have registered your student, please take a minute to add all the necessary information to your personal calendar.
  • What are your Covid-19 guidelines / mask requirements?
    Your child's safety is our top priority. We will be following all local, state, and national CDC guidelines concerning Covid-19. During peak times of Covid-19, students may wear masks in class while partner dancing, but we are not able to enforce it. Students who choose to wear a mask will be partnered with other students also wearing masks. If your child is sick or running a fever, please keep them at home.
  • What is your disciplinary policy concerning students?
    The primary goal of the Austin cotillion is to teach manners, etiquette, social skills, and dance. This environment is not suitable for acting up or being disruptive. If any student is interfering with this learning process, it is deemed to be detrimental to the rest of the students in the class. While we are prepared to deal with the occasional minor disruption, we are not equipped to deal with repeated disruptions throughout the class. If necessary, we may ask a disruptive student to sit out and speak with the parent or guardian when they are picked up. Should this happen a second time, the student will be removed from the class permanently and no refund will be given. The Austin Cotillion provides a safe environment for all students and has always been an advocate for all student's rights. Any type of hate speech or inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated and is grounds for immediate removal without refund. We encourage parents to speak with their students prior to attending to any of our classes to let them know that we expect them to be on their best behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

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