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Ball showcases skills of etiquette students

August 21, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • Tonique Bonner and her escort, Anthony Daley, dance the waltz with others at the Blossom School of Etiquette's 2010 Cotillion Ball held Saturday at Fountain Head Country Club in Hagerstown.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

There were no blue jeans or T-shirts, no sneakers or flip-flops and not a single exposed midriff in sight.

Even the music was unexpected -- a choreographed waltz performed before an audience of friends and family.

It was a night of elegance, complete with white gowns and tuxedos, pearls and shiny shoes.

But the 15 young couples who were introduced at the Blossom School of Etiquette's 2010 Cotillion Ball added their own touch to the evening before heading to their tables for dinner.

After gliding across the floor to a melancholy song called "Emily," they showed off more modern dance moves by breaking into the Cupid Shuffle.

Despite the change in tempo, they still looked graceful and poised.

"That's what etiquette class does," said Gloria Anderson, a parent and school volunteer.

Present and past graduates of the local etiquette program participated in the school's first Cotillion Ball Saturday night at Fountain Head Country Club.

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As the ballroom filled with guests, the children waited nervously in the foyer -- the girls gathered in a circle chatting and laughing, the boys relaxing on sofas.

This was new territory for most of the children -- a formal dance at a country club.

And while they were a bit nervous, they admitted the night was special.

"I feel like a princess," said 10-year-old Jasmine Dotson of Hagerstown.

Dressed in a white gown with tiny bows scattered across the skirt, Jasmine said she went to five stores before she found the right dress.

"I didn't know what I was looking for, but when I saw this, I just loved it," she said.

What she didn't like, though, were the new shoes that matched her gown.

"I'd rather be in sneakers," she said.

Jasmine said she enjoyed attending etiquette school "because I learned a lot. Before I took classes, my etiquette wasn't the best. I slouched at the table, I put my elbows on the table. I did things people shouldn't do. Now, I have much better manners."

Tayida Stewart, 10, of Hagerstown, said she enjoyed attending etiquette school and would recommend it to other girls.

"I heard about the classes and wanted to do it," she said. "I'm glad I did. I really liked it and learned a lot."

Tayida said she enjoyed getting dressed up for the cotillion. In addition to a new gown, she wore a strand of pearls that was a gift from her best friend.

And while she was excited about the evening, she was concerned about waltzing.

"I hope it goes all right," she said. "We've been practicing, but I'm still worried."

The waltz was choreographed by local dance instructors Irv and Betty Easterday, who were on hand Saturday night to lend support.

"I know they're nervous, but they'll do just fine," Irv Easterday said. "They originally wanted to do a Viennese waltz, but we didn't have enough time to practice. So we selected something that everyone could learn quickly."

Parent Joseph Jefferson of Hagerstown said he was pleased that an etiquette school exists in Washington County.

"I think any program that exposes our children to proper etiquette is a good program," he said. "It's an important first step in helping them succeed in the future."

Jefferson said his daughter, Olivia Rose, enjoyed taking the etiquette classes.

"She takes ballet lessons and plays the violin. So this was one more thing she has learned," he said.

Jefferson said parents need to expose their children "to as much as they possibly can. Take them to a restaurant as opposed to McDonald's. Take them to the theater rather than watching a DVD."

Jefferson said his daughter was being escorted by her twin brother, Gentry Taylor.

"Dad couldn't escort her," he said. "And since Dad is overprotective, the only one who could escort her was her brother."

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