Since 1981, Cynthia Merrill has been the owner, director and teacher of the Fresno/Clovis Cotillion and the Cynthia Merrill Etiquette Workshops. The Cotillion program and Etiquette Workshops were developed for the benefit of her two sons, Cyrus and Than Merrill. They both attended the program from 5th grade through high school and grew tremendously in their social skills, social confidence, manners and ability to social dance. Both boys were grateful for this experience and pleased with the confidence it provided them during their high school and college years and in their business and professional life  today. Her sons felt that the Cotillion and Etiquette Program was their most valuable after school experience in preparing them for professional life and adulthood.  

The word Cotillion originally meant (in France in the 1800’s) a style of dance for a minimum of four couples. Then Cotillion progressed to mean a formal ball where upper class young ladies were presented to society. Eventually it became known as an exclusive party (by invitation only) where ballroom dance lessons and manners were given to children in high society. In Mrs. Merrill’s program today, the word Cotillion refers to a monthly party from October through February where ballroom dance lessons and manners are taught in a party environment. Membership is open to any child who wishes to register for the program

The Cynthia Merrill Cotillion is designed to teach children social confidence and respect for one another while learning to ballroom dance. Contemporary dance steps are included in the curriculum along with manners for social occasions. Refreshments are served and mixer games are played. Children have a wonderful time at Cotillion, make friends from all over the valley and look forward to the six monthly themed parties. 

Four additional Etiquette Workshops are available, in small groups, with the fourth session being held in a restaurant where table manners and dining skills are practiced. This program is in addition to the six Cotillion dances and the fee is in addition to Cotillion.

recommend a minimum of four years to really benefit from the Cotillion and Etiquette Workshop experience. It takes repetition for dance steps to be permanently remembered; it takes lots of experience socially to be comfortable with everyone you meet; it takes years of practice to learn the traditional manners and years of practice to have them become a permanent part of your  demeanor and personality. The end result is a happy, socially gracious child who will never embarrass themselves or others.. What a gift to give your child. 

Junior and Senior High School is a very important age for children to continue in the Cotillion program or to start the Cotillion and Etiquette Experience. The more mature etiquette program prepares our youth for high school and college. More advanced dance steps are learned. The young people become excellent dancers. Keeping children in the program over a period of years does need parental encouragement. Teaching children to be leaders and think for themselves is part of our upper level program. Cotillion goes from fifth grade through senior year of high school and Etiquette Workshops from age four to adults. We also offer High School Seminars in Interview Preparation for employment, scholarships and college enterance, along with dinning skills, professional dress and social and business manners.

I welcome you to the Cynthia Merrill Cotillion program.

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