The Story of the Cotillion
According to tradition, debutantes are formally introduced at a grand ball. The word debutante comes from the French word, “debuter,” which means “to lead off.” The tradition has roots, as many of our customs do, in England where the Debutante Year is the finale for four years of philanthropic, cultural and social training. A debutante’s presentation welcomes her into a world of civic responsibility and social awareness. Today, for our Spring Leadership Ball, we refer to our outstanding young women as “honorees.”
Our night begins with the formal presentation of each honoree to the guests. She is accompanied by her presenter and her escort. The honoree’s biographical information is read as she is spotlighted and presents a bouquet of flowers to her mother.
The cotillion dance is a formal patterned dance. All the dance participants do the same steps at the same time in a specified manner. In Victorian times, this would represent young girls being introduced into society by their parents. It was considered their “coming-out” party, and from that time on, the girls were considered “young ladies”.
This night represents the recognition of young women of Medina County for their contributions to their schools, communities and employers. Feeding Medina County is proud to be a part of introducing these accomplished young women to Medina County.
The Spring Leadership Ball Formal Presentation
The honoree enters and bows. This is her “thank you” for the honor given her by her parents. She is then joined by her presenter and escort. *In an earlier time, proper young ladies were considered fragile and had to be escorted in public. The presenter does not take honoree’s hand, but rather lets her place her hand on his. Her escort takes her elbow.
The honoree greets her mother: giving honor to her mother as she curtsies and presents her mother a bouquet of flowers.
Each honoree exits the ballroom following her presentation, awaiting her return for the beginning of the cotillion dance.
The Cotillion Dance
The honoree and her presenter face each other, symbolic of the young lady asking permission to dance with her escort. Her presenter takes her hand and twirls her to face her escort, which means he has given his consent. Honoree and escort bow to each other in a formal greeting and they get into dance position. When the music begins, they enjoy the formal dance.
Walking March: The presenter joins the honoree and escort. They walk briskly in formation.
Presenter’s Introduction: The presenter reaches behind the honoree and taps the escort on the shoulder signifying that he is asking for the next dance. The honoree and escort bow to each other to say “thank you” for the dance. The escort leaves as the presenter and honoree bow to each other in greeting and they dance in the circle.
Closing: The presenter and honoree finish their dance, the escort then joins them, and they all face the audience and bow.
The Grand March
Presenters leave the dance floor. The honorees and escorts all prepare to perform the grand march. Historically, the grand march signified the debutante’s official entrance into proper society where she could now be escorted by someone other than her father.