Do you ever feel like good manners are becoming a lost art? Or that common courtesy is on the decline as people hide behind their screens and indulge their addiction to social media? We see it with adults and overwhelmingly with younger generations, who are growing up reliant on mobile devices. Basic etiquette, like making eye contact, giving a firm handshake, and properly introducing oneself – important people-skills that will help children build strong personal and business skills – seem to be a thing of the past.
The Virginia Cotillion sponsors Gillian Rice Maupin, Anna Alberson, and, me, Maura Burchette.
We are hoping to help change that at The Virginia Cotillion! More than 25 years ago, The Virginia Cotillion was created by beloved founders Amy Alberson, Lynn Hooff, and Perry Guy to offer ballroom and contemporary dance instruction, as well as instruction on manners and etiquette for middle school children. The goal then, and the goal now, has been to help students develop the confidence and skills needed for good behavior in any social situation.
In our classes, we’ve seen firsthand how dancing can help children improve social skills, conquer shyness, and become more confident…even in this digital age, where being connected to social media is often easier than being connected to those around us. Cotillion is a great way to meet new friends and learn dances and etiquette that will be used throughout a lifetime.
Gillian (far left), Anna (third from left), and me (second from right) at the 1996 Snowball.
This year, we are especially excited for some changes to the classic program as Cotillion graduates (class of 1996!) and St. Mary’s alumnae Anna Alberson, Gillian Rice Maupin, and me are the new owners. We have been working to update and modernize this classic program and make it even more fun. As you can see from our Snowball picture, we loved being a part of The Virginia Cotillion back then and we couldn’t be more excited to run the program now.
We meet on Sunday afternoons at Belle Haven Country Club and over the course of six classes, our dance instructor teaches students the fundamentals of dance, including traditional favorites such as the swing, waltz, fox trot, pretzel, salsa, cha-cha, and shag, as well as popular line and current dances. We open and close the season with Formal Nights, and also have Western, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day themes. The final class is the Snowball, where parents get to attend and dance with their children. Etiquette is taught at every session.
We hope you will break out the white gloves, dress up in party dresses and blazers (which can be found at 529 Kids Consign!) and join us for the 2017/2018 season, which begins on September 24. All students in 4th-7th grade are welcome and if you enter the code SB after your child’s name on the registration page, your family will be entered to win a free dinner at Belle Haven Country Club following the Snowball.
To register your child or learn more about our program, visit our website at www.thevirginiacotillion.com.
The Virginia Cotillion is run by Anna Alberson, Maura Burchette, and Gillian Rice Maupin. All three sponsors are native Alexandrians, alumna of St. Mary’s School in Old Town, and former students of The Virginia Cotillion (class of 1996). Anna’s mother, Amy Alberson, was one of the founding members of the Virginia Cotillion, along with Perry Guy and Lynn Hooff. After running The Virginia Cotillion for over 25 years, the founders wanted to hand the business off to the next generation of hosts to update and modernize the program, while also maintaining the tradition and reputation the Virginia Cotillion has earned over the years.