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 (“Skillys”). Kurt Claxton taught alongside Skilly for 15 years, and then carried on the tradition once she retired, renaming the program Tulsa Cotillion. Our new program and expanded class sessions have allowed us to accommodate students from numerous other area schools and to increase individual class sizes. We are especially excited about our re-formatted second year program which incorporates etiquette and manners in a more relaxed atmosphere combined with teaching our students the ever-popular country/western round dances and line dances.
In our first-year program, Tulsa’s future business leaders and entrepreneurs are introduced to the basics of formal social and dining etiquette while also learning three basic ballroom dances Salsa, Cha-Cha & 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 6 weeks, allowing them to be comfortable when presented with any social situation.
Our etiquette lessons include proper dining etiquette (both formal and informal) and 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 RSVP’s, 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.
Our typical first-year program consists of five (5) 90-minute, class sessions, plus a formal 5-course dinner, dance & party. 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 where the gentlemen serve the ladies, and where they can practice table manners and their conversational skills. Our formal parties begin with a photo session, a quick review of our dances, an informative demonstration of the courses they will be served with the use of a prototype table, and then 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.
Our classes are held at Tulsa Junior League @ 3633 South Yale in Tulsa. Most of our formal dance parties are held at Southern Hills Country Club, however, we also equally enjoy our parties at Tulsa Country Club, The Oaks Country Club and other Tulsa area venues. The choice of venue is made by the hosting parents
Tulsa Cotillion’s ultimate goal is to have our students leave with the knowledge and poise to enter any given social situation with confidence.