1. Brazos Valley Cotillion Served Up Good Manners & Great Dancing at Ball

    58ab603b144ca.imageSixty-three  local youth, ages 10-17, practiced their manners, their dining  and dance skills at the annual Brazos Valley Cotillion, held the month of February on Thursday evenings at Phillips Event Center. “We want to guide young people to focus on respect, consideration and awareness in all that they do and say,” says Dr. Susan Quiring. “Kids learned common courtesies, posture, poise and appropriate dress, dining etiquette, cell phone behavior, and conversation skills.  Cotillion concluded with the Formal Ball, held February 17.  Each couple had the privilege of walking under the Saber Arch of the Ross Volunteers.  The young ladies and gentlemen dined and danced to DJ Tom Byer.  Two special performances: Sarabeth & Jack Erdner performed a beautiful waltz; Joy Patranella & Jesse Rakowitz performed a fun swing.  Special awards went to:  The Overall Prestigious Class Act Award: Millie Reed and Michael Baber;  Best Dancers:  Katherine Renard, Payton Binyon, Heather Baber and Gunnar Gessner;  Most Mannerly: Shelby Kate Garner and John Cizmas; Best First Impression: Elise Barlow and Will Askew;  Most Congenial:  Emmi Wilson and Ben Brandon.  The next Teen Dance Party is April 29, and Class Act Etiquette/Dance Camp will be June 19-22

  2. 2016 Class Act Etiquette Camp

    63 children and teens, ages 6-18,  graduated from the 2016 Class Act Etiquette & Dance Camps. How thrilled I was to receive so many written and verbal thank you notes from mothers and students.  When a 10 year old tells her mom he is starting to save money so she can attend next summer’s camp, and another mom tells me the camp has given her son such a boost in confidence and they are telling all their friends, I realize how valuable these social and life skills are to our young people.   How rewarding to have so many individual young people express the fun they had while we learned about good Character, Confidence, and Courtesy! Here are a couple of photos from the camps. Dates for Brazos Valley Cotillion and Formal Ball will be January  19, 26, February 2, 9, and Formal Ball February 11 or 180346 0361

    62 children and teens just graduated from the 2016 Cotillion and Formal Ball. How rewarding to have so many individual young people express the fun they had while we learned about good Character, Confidence, and Courtesy! Here are a couple of photos from the weekly classes. The Class Act Etiquette/Dance Camp will be June 13-16, so please save that week and join us!P1050063 P1050124 P1050061 P1050057

  4. Student Showcase and Dance Was Magical!

    Ninety-six people enjoyed a delicious dinner, dancing to our wonderful DJ, Tom Byer, and over-the-top performances.  And what a privilege and a blessing to watch all of the teens and pre-teens, as well as the adults out on the dance floor.  I was in awe.

    Please congratulate all our performers:

    Grace Godfrey, Braeden Forsthoff, Karina Salkin, Daniel Minke, Maiya Ashley, Mark Salkin, Veronica Bender, Isaiah Minke, Darce Markowsky, Ben Fisher, Andi Salkin, Matthew Schmid, Cassidy Schmid, Heathryn Livingston.  Check out the videos on my Facebook page.  More photos coming soon!

    The good news is that this was our First Annual Student Showcase, so there will be another one next year!


    Saturday night’s Formal Ball was such a fun evening and nice conclusion to our 2014 Brazos Valley Cotillion held at Briarcrest Golf Club.  Thank you to all 65 who attended.  It is such a privilege to walk under the Saber Arch of the Tx A&M University Ross Volunteers. We love it that they come each year to start off our Ball.  Everyone looked so nice.  I hope you enjoyed the evening as much as I did. After dining on a 4-course meal and dancing to DJ Tom Byer,

    The Dance Police gave some special awards:

    Best Female Dancer: Paige Keller

    Best Male Dancer:  Tyler Vesperman

    Most Improved Female Dancer:  Heather Brown

    Most Improved Male Dancer:  Joey Williams (Joey – age 10 —  said to me, “of all the older guys here, and I won?!).  Joey developed an incredible dance frame.

    Most Mannerly Female:  Maddie Campbell

    Most Mannerly Male:  Jackson McGruffy 

    Before the end of the evening we enjoyed 3 performances:  Ben and Jordan Fisher choreographed a beautiful Foxtrot/Viennese Waltz; Irina Popova and Alex Hansen tempted us with a phenomenal Tango; Amanda Vorpahl and Jordan Garcia choreographed a wonderful Quickstep!

    But we won’t stop dancing!  A Teen Dance Class will begin Thursday, April 3, 4:30-5:45pm.  To enroll:


  6. The Gift of Etiquette

    It’s that time of year again! Brazos Valley Cotillion is fast approaching. This is an original and thoughtful gift idea for any young people in your life. I have never had any Cotillion student not enjoy their time in my class. Kids ages 10-19 are invited, and they will learn important social and life skills, including cell phone etiquette, common courtesies, and formal and informal dining skills, as well as ballroom dancing! Cotillion takes place over 4 weekly sessions, culminating in a Formal Ball where my students demonstrate all they have learned. The young adults have the awesome privilege of walking through the saber arch of the Ross Volunteers; feast upon a four-course dinner, dance to the varied tunes of an amazing DJ, and enjoy a dance performance by my more advanced college students. To give a special child in your life the gift of a lifetime, contact me by phone or email. You will not regret it!                          979-690-0606

  7. Office Party Entertainment

    What a fun Holiday party yesterday! I was asked to provide the entertainment for the Office of Admissions Holiday Social.   We performed two dance numbers:  Paul Stiverson and Wendy Kreider danced an International Rumba to “Baby it’s Cold Outside”; Paul and I danced Cha Cha to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

    Paul and I had 20 minutes to teach two faculty members, Bill and Cheryl, to dance a Foxtrot.  Just like on Dancing with the Stars TV show, we had 3 judges who ranked the 2 dancers.  Bill tried to buy judges’ votes.  Cheryl got on her knees and begged for mercy.  It was great fun.  The 200+ faculty and staff got to place their votes on their cell phones.

    Brandi from the admissions office emailed this comment: “I’ve heard so many compliments about the dancing.  Your team was AWESOME!  The quick routines you were able to put together for Cheryl and Bill in such a short amount of time were truly wonderful.  Everyone really enjoyed it.  In fact, several people have told me it’s the best we’ve ever had!” I am so glad we were able to make their Christmas Party special. If any of you are planning a Christmas party, we would be happy to provide dance entertainment for you, as well!

  8. ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Etiquette Part II

    When you’re invited somewhere as a guest, you really do have a role to play . You’re there to enjoy yourself, but it’s also up to you to make a positive contribution to the gathering.

    Before the Party
    When you get a written or e-mailed invitation, RSVP. It’s courteous to let your hosts know for meal planning, seating arrangements, and other planning purposes. You should RSVP whether your answer is yes or no. E-vites are not quite as formal as mailed invitations, nevertheless, treat them with respect and respond right away. It only takes a minute.

    What to bring
    Don’t arrive empty-handed. Bring along a nice little gift with you — a bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers, a packet of printed cocktail napkins, a little inspirational book, a basket of teas and chocolates. It’s always polite to ask “May I bring something?” if it’s a dinner party. If they say yes, ask what they’d like you to bring — meat dish, appetizer, salad, veg­etable, dessert. If they say no, accept the answer with grace.

    If each guest acts like it’s up to him or her to make it a party, it will be. Talk to someone who’s alone, mix and mingle, make good conversation, do your part. Introduce interesting topics of conversation — good movies you’ve seen, places you’ve visited. Asking questions is always a good conver­sation starter. Did you get away over the holidays? Have you read [the latest bestseller]? What hobbies do you enjoy? You’ll be the most popular person at the party if you ask good questions and listen!

    Help Out
    Help in unobtrusive ways. Take abandoned dishes to the kitchen, pass around a plate of appetizers. If you see some­thing that needs doing, quietly do it. If you’re at a dinner party, volunteer to do the dishes or serve dessert. Your host­ess has her hands full!

    The holidays naturally call for celebratory toasts. If you want to make a toast, don’t clink your silverware on your glass to get everyone’s attention. This will only break the crystal. Simply lift up your glass, speak clearly, and say, “May I please have everyone’s attention?” A toast should not be too personal or too long. Remember the three B’s of toasting: begin, be brief, and be seated.

    All good things must come to an end
    Don’t overstay your welcome, no matter how much you’re enjoying yourself. How do you know when it’s time to go home? Use your intuition. You may have been told 2 to 5, or just “come around 8,” but your host and/or hostess will give off nonverbal signals when it’s time for you to go home. They yawn, suddenly get up, start fidgeting and twisting, let the conversation lag, or even start doing the dishes! Take the clue.

    Thank Your host
    Even if it’s a large gathering, seek out the host or hostess to say good bye and thank them for a wonderful party. After­ward, send a written thank-you note — or at least a thank-you email if you must. Because so much of our lives occur online, it doesn’t mean that old-fashioned niceties have to fly out the window, though. Sure, rules have relaxed, but — especially when a lot of preparation has gone into something — sometimes rules are there for a reason.

  9. ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Etiquette

    Holidays are filled with parties where we see friends, family, and food. It’s a time of goodwill, joy, and gift giving. With all this revelry, you might find yourself facing some awkward moments that can be avoided by spending a little time brushing up on holiday etiquette.

    While no party comes off without a hitch, every hostess with the mostess and host with the most has these top four etiquette rules for hosting a party up her or his well-mannered sleeve.

    Party Invitations
    Make your invitation clear as to what kind of gathering it is: cocktails, dinner, buffet, brunch, lunch, and so on. All of the five W’s should be answered in your invitation: who, what, where, when, and why. The more information your guests have, the better.

    Be the Life of Your Own Party
    Mingling, listening authentically to what your guests have to say, asking intelligent questions, and introducing guests who don’t know each other put everyone at ease and creates a party where people feel connected. Don’t wait for the guests to generate the energy of your party — show them the way with your own attitude and actions. As the host of ‘Be The Best Guest’ says, “If the hostess isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.”

    Keep Your Cool
    If you host enough parties, at some point you’ll encounter guests who will arrive early, leave late, spill red wine on your white couch, or show up with uninvited dogs and kids. Handle all these snafus and more with a smile. Accept apologies graciously, don’t make a public fuss, and remember that part of having a party is putting up with unexpected events.

    Focus On The Guests, Not The Cleanup
    Yes, trash and dirty dishes will pile up during a party. And no, you don’t need to clean them up right away. Stick to your role as host and resist the temptation to clean while guests are present. If you’re having a huge event, consider hiring some help. Of course, if you’re ready for guests to leave…well….

    Part II: Tips for Guests will come next week.