Burgess Cotillion etiquette

Burgess Cotillion Program

From Liam:

When I tell people I attend Burgess Cotillion, they usually look at me funny and ask, “Cotillion? What’s that? Isn’t that something they only do on the east coast or in the south?” Actually, it isn’t. Cotillion is alive and well right here in the LBC. My brothers and I have been attending Burgess Cotillion for several years- since 5th grade and 3rd grade, respectively. I’m currently a senior in high school and my twin brothers are freshmen. My mom always told us that dancing was a skill we had to learn. We weren’t really given an option to say no. However, I can honestly say it is one of my favorite things to do

According to my little brother Drew:

In Burgess Cotillion you learn some of the most important skills that you could ever need in life. I have learned how to ballroom dance, show gratitude to hosts, and I’ve acquired social skills to use every day. When I was on vacation, my friends and my family went to a local festival where there was dancing and music. One of the songs that the band played was a tango and suddenly I remembered the moves I learned in cotillion. I said to my friend, “Let’s go dance, I know this song.” We went to the dance floor and I led her through the song, spinning and moving through the crowd. She and her family were very surprised that I knew a lot of the dance moves. I’ve had a great time in Burgess Cotillion and I’m looking forward to being part of the high school group this year. Learning how to ballroom dance has really improved my self-confidence at social functions and has taught me to communicate better with people.

My other brother Logan has his own thoughts:

Being in Burgess Cotillion has not only helped me learn dance moves to use at social events and parties, it has provided me with skills I use to communicate today. I joined cotillion when I was in third grade and since then it has continued to help me. I have learned to talk to people older than me and gain their respect and trust. Every time we have cotillion, we go through the reception line to greet the host with a handshake and give our full name. We practice the crucial skills of speaking clearly and looking people in the eye. While at Burgess Cotillion, I have also learned how to be both a good host and a good guest. During the manners portion of the evening, the Burgess family goes over social etiquette and provides us simple tips to use at events or activities. Although many people think of ballroom dancing as old-fashioned, I’ve easily adapted the steps I’ve learned into modern day dance styles and use them at school dances and parties. I always have fun at cotillion and look forward to it each month.

From Liam:

I’ve been attending Burgess Cotillion since fifth grade and the skills I have learned there have helped me quite a bit in my life outside of Cotillion. During an eighth grade trip to Washington DC, we attended a dinner cruise on the Potomac River. I really enjoyed teaching my friends some dances and we had a great time. When I saw another guy express interest in a girl I wanted to meet, I confidently walked up and asked her to dance. We partner-danced and it was a fun time for all. (BTW- I know the chaperone texted my mom and told her cotillion was paying off. Thanks, mom). I felt confident talking with the people I had just met since I used many of the skills that I learned at Burgess Cotillion when conversing with them.

One of the acronyms I’ve learned is H-E-L-P. The HELP acronym has honestly helped me quite a number of times- more than 15 times I would say, at least. Help stands for hobbies, entertainments, likes… I forgot the last one but I can usually get by with the first three. It’s an easy acronym to remember and a tactic that I frequently employ when talking with people for the first time.

Although I’ve learned traditional dance steps, I have applied them to a more modern backdrop at school dances and other events. At my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, I danced with my grandmother (which was really nice). I even taught her how to waltz for the anniversary in my kitchen which was a fun experience.

Once a month, we attend Burgess Cotillion and get dressed in either party dress or theme dress. We spend about an hour and a half or so dancing to music, socializing during the snack break, and playing games. Yes, we play games and laugh at cotillion. In the high school group, most of us are at different schools. It’s fun to just get together and reconnect. It’s nice to hang out with people that you’ve known for a while. You can make jokes, have a good time, and just overall enjoy a really nice stress-free environment. I would highly recommend this to somebody looking for a good time and for someone looking for an edge in life. The skills you learn at Burgess Cotillion do set you apart from the crowd. You are not just learning dance and social skills; you are learning skills that can be applied throughout your whole life.