Eagle County Charter Academy’s cotillion teaches rhythm, respect | VailDaily.com

Eagle County Charter Academy’s cotillion teaches rhythm, respect

Daily staff report
High Altitude Society
Santi Wilkins partners with Grace Morgan in the waltz.
Special to the Daily |

BEAVER CREEK — There are no cooties in Colin Meiring ’s cotillion.

If you ask most fifth- and sixth-graders what they think of the opposite sex, you will likely get one word: “Ew.” Enter cotillion — Meiring style — and suddenly partner ballroom dance makes the cooties go away and manners become cool.

For the past 11 years, Meiring, Vail Performing Arts Academy’s artistic director, has brought rhythm, respect and social skills to Eagle County Charter School middle schoolers. Wednesday was dine and dance day at the Chophouse in Beaver Creek.

In this enrichment program, students are introduced to the lost art of etiquette, however, this is not your grandfather’s cotillion! By instilling poise, grace and chivalry through a nurturing, enthusiastic and fun experience, budding preteens are transformed into elegant, polite young men and women.

“Cotillion is the foundation of learning important social skills through dance and decorum,” Meiring said. “These fun-filled lessons, provide the basis for students to feel confident. How students act is not only a reflection of their character but also a demonstration of their education.”

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Having good social skills and being able to effectively present one’s self is a necessity in today’s competitive society. These skills empower individuals to communicate more effectively and to set leadership examples, promoting personal growth and integrity.

Eagle County Charter Academy Principal Kim Walters said, “This is such a unique experience for the kids to practice manners and respect. It’s not just about dancing; this is teaching life skills. Colin works independently with the students, and because of his commitment and passion, they have tremendous respect for him.”

According to fifth-grader Marley Linder, “We are learning manners for our future, and I love dancing.”

Her fellow student Kyle Cranston said, “Boys should participate in cotillion because we can learn to be more comfortable in social situations.”

Maggie Swimm said she likes learning how to be more ladylike; Ian MacFarlan enjoys learning how to eat food properly and Ethan Zeeb said, “I like cotillion because it will help me get a good job and not become a bum.”

For more information about Vail Performing Arts Academy enrichment programs, visit http://www.vpaa.org.

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