Cotillion FAQ

Get answers to your Cotillion questions below.

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Formal Cotillion

Country Cotillion

Formal Cotillion Program

Cotillion is a class for boys and girls of middle-school age and above, offering instruction in etiquette, table manners, and basic ballroom dancing. Tulsa Cotillion’s program consists of five 90-minute class sessions, plus a formal five-course dinner, dance, and party (lasting about 4 hours). Each class session begins with a 15-minute etiquette lesson, followed by an hour of dancing, allowing our students to incorporate the manners they have been taught in an informal, but structured, social situation. We end each class session with a 15-minute refreshment break, during which the gentlemen serve the ladies, and both gentlemen and ladies can practice table manners and their conversational skills.

In our formal program, students are introduced to the basics of formal social and dining etiquette while also learning three basic ballroom dances (Salsa, Cha-Cha, and East Coast Swing). Our focus on proper manners and etiquette during each session encourages our students to put those manners into practice over the course of six weeks, allowing them to be comfortable when presented with any social situation. From the beginning, we teach our boys to act like gentlemen and our girls to demand to be treated like ladies. Gentlemen are taught to hold doors and chairs for ladies, to help them with their coats, they are taught how to escort and to serve them, and to always respect and treat them with dignity. Ladies are taught to be gracious and lady-like, and to show appreciation and respect to the gentlemen in their lives.

Our etiquette lessons include proper dining etiquette, both formal and informal; polite conversation while dining; the importance of proper social skills, including how to introduce yourself and how to proceed through receiving lines; how to be a gracious guest, host or hostess; the paying and receiving of compliments; holding doors and chairs, and how to help a lady with her coat; the different types of RSVPs; dress codes; cell phone etiquette; and how to behave in mixed group situations, as well as many other areas of social etiquette. We also stress the importance of treating everyone with respect and courtesy.

For weekly classes, the dress code is business attire, including:

  • Gentlemen — Khakis or dress slacks, and collared shirt, with leather dress shoes.
  • Ladies — Church-appropriate dresses or skirts, dress shoes.

For the Final Dinner & Dance, the dress code is semi-formal attire, including:

  • Gentlemen — Suit or blazer, dress slacks, collared button-down shirt, tie, and leather dress shoes.
  • Ladies — Modest semi-formal dress, dress shoes.

We do not take partner requests for regular classes because meeting new friends is part of the experience! Students will change partners throughout each class, giving them an opportunity to practice introductions, conversation, and social graces with students they know and students they’ve just met. For the Final Dinner and Dance only, students will have a chance to request some classmates (whether ladies or gentlemen) with whom they would like to share a table. We cannot accommodate every request, but we do our best to place at least one friend at your student’s table.

We do not offer make-up sessions for missed classes. However, the Cotillion Director will offer ample review of dances each week, so missing one class is not usually an issue.

If your student will miss a class, please notify us in advance (if possible) so we can make any necessary seating adjustments.

Formal parties begin with a photo session, and a quick review of our dances. Then we provide an informative demonstration of each course students will be served, using a prototype table. Once the party starts, we dance 2-3 dances between each of the five courses: soup, salad, sorbet, entrée and dessert. Students dance each dance with a different partner, allowing them to dance with multiple partners, and also practice how to graciously exchange partners while on the dance floor.

Parent tickets to the Final Dinner & Dance will be made available for purchase as space allows. Ticket prices are based on the costs of the event, but usually run between $60-75 per person. Parents should plan to dress in business or semi-formal attire.

Yes! Parents will provide and serve refreshments during one of the five regular classes. Refreshments may be as simple as a selection of store-bought cookies, or include more elaborate fare. Parents will provide refreshments, setup and serve, and clean up afterwards. We will also need a small team of parents to help plan the Final Dinner & Dance, and set up before the event.

Homeschooling parents who wish to include Cotillion as a Fine Arts or Elective credit on their student’s transcript should consult the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s website for requirements and guidelines. We do not offer course credit for our Cotillion program through Cognosco et Credo Inc.

Country Cotillion Program

Cotillion is a class for boys and girls of middle-school age and above, offering instruction in etiquette, table manners, and basic ballroom dancing. The Country Cotillion program consists of five 90-minute class sessions, plus a final BBQ dinner, dance, and party (lasting about 4 hours). Each class session begins with a 15-minute etiquette lesson, followed by an hour of dancing, allowing our students to incorporate the manners they have been taught in an informal, but structured, social situation. We end each class session with a 15-minute refreshment break, during which the gentlemen serve the ladies, and both gentlemen and ladies can practice table manners and their conversational skills.

In our Country Cotillion program, students are introduced to the basics of social and dining etiquette while also learning the basics of Country-Western dancing, including: the Two-Step, the Country Shuffle, the Country Waltz and Triple-time Swing, along with 4-5 popular line dances. Our focus on proper manners and etiquette during each session encourages our students to put those manners into practice over the course of six weeks, allowing them to be comfortable when presented with any social situation. From the beginning, we teach our boys to act like gentlemen and our girls to demand to be treated like ladies. Gentlemen are taught to hold doors and chairs for ladies, to help them with their coats, they are taught how to escort and to serve them, and to always respect and treat them with dignity. Ladies are taught to be gracious and lady-like, and to show appreciation and respect to the gentlemen in their lives.

Our etiquette lessons include proper dining etiquette, both formal and informal; polite conversation while dining; the importance of proper social skills, including how to introduce yourself and how to proceed through receiving lines; how to be a gracious guest, host or hostess; the paying and receiving of compliments; holding doors and chairs, and how to help a lady with her coat; the different types of RSVPs; dress codes; cell phone etiquette; and how to behave in mixed group situations, as well as many other areas of social etiquette. We also stress the importance of treating everyone with respect and courtesy.

No. Students who have participated in the Formal Cotillion class are encouraged to join us again for this new offering, but previous experience with formal cotillion is not required.

For weekly classes, the dress code is casual country-western, including:

  • Gentlemen — Jeans and collared shirt, with boots or leather dress shoes.
  • Ladies — Jeans and blouse, or dress, with boots or leather dress shoes.
  • Jeans are welcome, but NO athletic wear (t-shirts, track pants, shorts, hoodies, sneakers, etc.)

For the Final Dinner & Dance, the dress code is semi-formal country-western wear, including:

  • Gentlemen — Jeans, collared button-down shirt, blazer & tie (optional), boots or leather dress shoes.
  • Ladies — Modest western dress or western shirt and jeans, boots or closed-toed dress shoes.

Cowboy hats are encouraged! Glam up your outfit with vests, belt buckles, rhinestones, etc.

We do not take partner requests for regular classes because meeting new friends is part of the experience! Students will change partners throughout each class, giving them an opportunity to practice introductions, conversation, and social graces with students they know and students they’ve just met. For the Final Dinner and Dance only, students will have a chance to request some classmates (whether ladies or gentlemen) with whom they would like to share a table. We cannot accommodate every request, but we do our best to place at least one friend at your student’s table.

We do not offer make-up sessions for missed classes. However, the Cotillion Director will offer ample review of dances each week, so missing one class is not usually an issue.

If your student will miss a class, please notify us in advance (if possible) so we can make any necessary seating adjustments.

Final parties begin with an informal photo session, and a review of dances. Unlike the formal cotillion class, the Country Cotillion dinner is a BBQ buffet, so students will learn how to serve themselves and pass through buffet lines appropriately. Proper dining etiquette is strongly reinforced, along with all of the social skills taught during a formal Cotillion class. Attendees will enjoy both dining and dancing throughout the evening. Students conduct each dance with a different partner, allowing them to dance with multiple acquaintances, and also practice how to graciously exchange partners while on the dance floor.

Parent tickets to the Final Dinner & Dance will be made available for purchase as space allows. Ticket prices are based on the costs of the event, but usually run between $60-75 per person. For Country Cotillion, parents are encouraged to dress in semi-formal country-western wear (see Dress Code above).

Yes! Parents will provide and serve refreshments during one of the five regular classes. Refreshments may be as simple as a selection of store-bought cookies, or include more elaborate fare. Parents will provide refreshments, setup and serve, and clean up afterwards. We will also need a small team of parents to help plan the Final Dinner & Dance, and set up before the event.

Homeschooling parents who wish to include Cotillion as a Fine Arts or Elective credit on their student’s transcript should consult the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s website for requirements and guidelines. We do not offer course credit for our Cotillion program through Cognosco et Credo Inc.

About Tulsa Cotillion

Tulsa Cotillion was founded in 2009 following in the footsteps of a 60-year old Tulsa tradition of formal dance and etiquette classes taught by Skilly Forsman (“Skilly’s”). Kurt Claxton taught alongside Skilly for 15 years, and then carried on the tradition once she retired, renaming the program Tulsa Cotillion. Tulsa Cotillion’s ultimate goal is to have our students leave with the knowledge and poise to enter any given social situation with confidence.