Cotillion, left in the past or brought into the modern world?

Marandah Mangra-Dutcher, Copy Editor

Ball gowns, different-sized utensils, escorts in tuxedos, pricey meals, tall heels, and a lot of manners. All things that come with an event called Cotillion. Cotillion is an event that is used to showcase the manners of middle school aged children of upper class families. It is more commonly practiced in the South.

The term ‘Cotillion’ was recently in a book that I read, and I was intrigued to learn more about it. The vague knowledge that I had was not entirely accurate. I thought Cotillion was a way to introduce high school-aged females into society by way of a ball, however the event that does that is called a Debutante Ball. A Debutante Ball is where girls the age of 18-21 are presented to society  through a ball, and they use the manners that they learned at Cotillion to prepare. A Cotillion is also a type of ballroom dance that is taught in preparation for a Debutante Ball, and is commonly performed by the female being presented and her escorts. Their escorts are typically boys in the same age group.

These are both old traditions that I did not believe were still practiced today. However, in doing research and further investigation I discovered that it is still a common practice for the upper class in the south. In fact there are many organizations dedicated to keep the tradition alive.

I am interested to see how these traditions fare in the modern day era. The world has evolved in ways that have allowed for girls to refuse to wear dresses, and instead wear suits. It is okay for a girl to go to a dance with another girl, or for a boy to go with another boy. Manners are no longer really taught in school except for saying “please” and “thank you.”Most people do not know how to waltz anymore. All the aspects of a Debutante Ball have changed.