Social etiquette fit for a queen

JDW Westside Cotillion offers communication skills and confidence for youth

Posted 3/25/19

On the chance that she would ever get to visit with a queen, it is important to 9-year-old Elena Perrotto that she knows some formal dance moves and proper dining manners. However, these are just two …

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Social etiquette fit for a queen

JDW Westside Cotillion offers communication skills and confidence for youth

Posted

On the chance that she would ever get to visit with a queen, it is important to 9-year-old Elena Perrotto that she knows some formal dance moves and proper dining manners.

However, these are just two examples of social etiquette skills that Elena Perrotto and her brother William, 11, will learn in their upcoming JDW Westside Cotillion classes.

“More and more people today rely on digital communication,” said Vicki Buchmann, chair and program manager for JDW Westside Cotillion. But “the ability to communicate face-to-face is just as important today as it was in the past.”

Using traditional dances — fox trot and waltz, for example — as a means to breakdown social inhibitions and build confidence, JDW Westside Cotillion educates youths to communicate more effectively while promoting personal growth, confidence and character, Buchmann said.

“How you conduct yourself in public tells a lot about your character,” she said. “Our hope is that the skills they (youths) learn will carry on for the rest of their lives and provide them with confidence in a variety of social situations.”

Cotillion is a four-week education program, with a party at The Brown Palace in downtown Denver on the fifth week. Each week has a different theme, including courtesy, first impressions, introducing yourself to new people and a variety of communication skills — verbal, nonverbal and the proper way to communicate on technological devices or social media, such as how to handle cyberbullying, for example.

“Social skills are essential for establishing any relationship,” Buchmann said. This includes everything from meeting a new friend of any age to college or job interviews, and even dating, she added.

Elena and William Perrotto of Broomfield will be return students when the JDW Westside Cotillion classes begin this April. Both are most excited for the dance aspect of the course, but William notes the value of having what he calls “genuine manners.” These are how to greet people and properly shake hands, for example, he said.

“Later on in life, you’ll know how to respect people,” William Perrotto said, “and prove yourself to them for their respect.”

Elena and William are at the age when they’re becoming more social in life, both among their peers and other adults, their dad Joe Perrotto said.

Cotillion “is a learning experience for them,” Joe Perrotto said. “It teaches them to be respectful to all people, no matter where they are.”

It seems that as technology advances, people are losing the essence of human communication, said Emily Perrotto, William and Elena’s mom. But social skills are still a wonderful gift to have, she added.

“Cotillion brings us back to the basics,” Emily Perrotto said. “It reminds kids that it’s normal to have social interaction with others, and not always hide behind a screen.”

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