Manners make a difference |

Manners make a difference

Betty Ann Woodland
High Altitude Society

On Thursday, May 26, at the Eagle County Charter Academy, students donned their best outfits and presented to their family and friends the skills they acquired from Vail Performing Arts Cotillion instructor Colin Meiring.

There was formal ballroom dancing, etiquette, poise and grace as well as history lessons about the origin of some of the dances. Focus was placed on the art of proper manners. Highlights included the parent-child dances, where the students could show their parents what they have learned and have fun together practicing their steps.

Vail Performing Arts Cotillion classes are expertly instructed by Meiring, an undefeated National Ballroom champion who is credited with IDTA qualifications in dance etiquette and deportment.

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

“Having good social skills and being able to effectively present one’s self is a necessity in today’s competitive society,” Meiring added. “It empowers individuals to communicate more effectively, and to set leadership examples, promoting personal growth, confidence and character.”

And, though, the learning is serious, Meiring makes the classes fun.

“This is not your father’s cotillion! We instill confidence, etiquette and chivalry through a nurturing, enthusiastic experience of laughter, passion and skill,” Meiring said.

Meiring’s cotillion program is a hit with students, teachers and parents. The students especially like the modern hip-hop dance instruction. Parents have seen their children gain confidence and poise as some students have taken on more responsibilities at school.

Emily and Craig Large are proud that their sixth-grader Carter Large has grown in maturity and leadership capabilities.

“He is taking on new roles and being a great friend to others,” Emily Large said.

Eagle County Charter Academy has received the highest level of accreditation from Eagle County Schools and the Colorado Department of Education. ECCA has received the prestigious John Irwin School of Excellence award every year since its inception in 1999. For more information, visit

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at

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