Cotillions are making a come-back

WAYNE, pa. - November 27, 2012

The idea is to teach children social skills, something that may be increasingly important in today's high-tech world.

Organizers of the Saturday Club Cotillion in Wayne, Pennsylvania say for children to present themselves properly in an increasingly competitive and technology-driven society they need to "turn Facebook time into face-to-face time."

The Cotillion was formed with the help of John D. Williams Cotillions, a national organization.

"What we teach our students is that wherever they go, whatever they do, whoever they meet, their social skills are essential," said Annabel Kyler.

But it's not just about learning how to fox trot or which fork to use at dinner, it is about preparing children for life.

"People get confused and say, 'oh, isn't it just social dancing and punch and cookies?' Far from it," said Kyler.

The young people are learning how to make a good first impression; how to greet adults versus a new friend.

And while wearing white gloves and their Sunday best, they are also learning proper etiquette and how to handle themselves in social situations.

It starts with basic communication skills.

"They have the opportunity to learn each other's names, have a brief exchange, start a conversation, and really feel comfortable in a social setting," said Kyler.

And some of it does happen by learning the Fox Trot and how to conduct themselves at the dinner table.

"We create this environment where everyone is able to build confidence through the social dancing," she said.

The response from parents and their children has been tremendous. Many applicants have been wait-listed because the sessions simply can not accommodate everyone who wants to be involved.

"We have had a huge surge in the last couple of years, even through the recession. People are recognizing the importance of this type of education," said Kyler.

"You tell your kids a million times, 'please look someone in the eye; please greet adults as you meet them,'" said Carla Ojha. "For them to hear it from John D. Williams Cotillion and to really get it, we've found it to be wonderful for our son."

"I actually think it is a very important thing to do, because then you know how to treat people, and you can use it for your job interview when you're older," said 3rd grader Sid Ojah.

The experts say that 85% of a person's ability to get a job, keep a job and be promoted on the job is based on their interpersonal skills.

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