The Cotillion

Member handbook


I. MEMBERSHIP

Organization Size

The Cotillion limits the number of couples who can become members, based on the size of the floors in our venues. The current cap is 70 member couples or individual members. The goal is to ensure that members and their guests will have sufficient room to dance. Once the member limit has been reached, other applicants are put on a waiting list and are notified of vacancies as they occur.

Admission to Dances

Members pay annual dues and receive admission to all dances, provided their dance reservation form is received by the response due date. Members may also invite guests, who pay a guest fee in addition to the cost of their meals.

The Board of Directors reserves the right to limit the number of guests admitted to each dance, depending on the size of the dance hall, as it sees fit.

Becoming a Member

Anyone interested in becoming a member should request an application form. The form may be issued by the Membership Chair or other board member. However, since the form is available on the Cotillion website: www.cotillionballroom.org, any member can access the form. Once the form has been filled out, it should be forwarded to the Membership Chair. Membership is available to couples and to individuals; it should be noted that individual members are required to bring a dance partner to each dance they attend. Applicants need recommendations from two member couples in order to have their application reviewed by the Board of Directors. Questions regarding membership policy can be referred to any Board member.

Dues and Dance Fees

Annual membership dues are determined by the board. Current dues are $115 for the season. The annual dues help to cover the cost of bands and operating expenses. Annual dues are prorated for members who join in mid-season. The guest fees, currently $30 per couple, are also set by the board.

In order to attend the dance, members and guests must order dinner. Dinner costs cover the food, the service, and the venue.


II. DANCES

Schedule

Whenever possible, Cotillion dances are scheduled for the third Saturday in October, November, December, February, March, April, and May. Dances are usually scheduled with cocktails at 5:45pm, dinner at 6:45pm, with dancing from 7:30 to 11:00pm.

Dance Committee

Each dance is hosted by a dance committee composed of two couples from the Board. They coordinate with the venue's staff to plan the meals and decorations, and they handle registration and seating arrangements. Each dance announcement will indicate one of the host couples. You should send your response form to this couple as soon as possible; if you have any questions or run into a problem (e.g. you must cancel out) you should call this couple.

The Board meets after each dance to review that dance and make plans for the next dance. Feel free to make suggestions to any Board member. We need your input.

Dance Notices and Responses

Approximately 18 days before each dance you will receive a dance notice, either by e-mail or the US Post Office, depending on the member's choice. Please fill out the form completely and return it with your check to the dance committee as soon as possible. Your volunteer board will appreciate a prompt response, which makes it easier to complete the work in a timely fashion. If you will not be attending the dance, please call or e-mail the dance committee to indicate that you won't be attending.

On the response form please:


If you wish to bring guests be sure to complete the response form as indicated so that we have the information needed to create their name tags.

Guests

Guests are welcome at Cotillion dances within space limitations. Requests to bring guests are handled on a first come-first served basis. Guests must come as a couple.

If you wish to bring guests you should complete the response form, indicating your guests' names and meal choices. For each guest couple include a separate check; the check should be for the cost of your guests' meals plus the guest fee.

Prompt responses by all members make it possible for the dance committee to provide the earliest possible notifications to members who wish to bring guests. As a courtesy to other Cotillion members we urge you to return your response form promptly even if you will not be attending the dance.

Meals

The dance committees normally select four entree offerings for each dance; one of these will be a vegetarian option. We try to provide variety in meal selections during the year, taking into account previous member responses. Any suggestions or comments regarding meals can be made to any Board member.

Dress Code

The Cotillion has a long tradition of ballroom dancing in an elegant, formal setting. To maintain that tradition men are required to wear tuxedos. Women are required to wear floor-length or tea-length (mid-calf) dresses appropriate for formal evening functions. Male guests may wear dark business suits.

Seating

The dance committee tries to accommodate the seating preferences indicated on your response form. However, it is not always possible to seat each member couple or individual with everyone they request to be seated with. We will do our best. Guest couples are automatically seated with their host couples. Any special requests should be referred to the dance committee.

Name Tags

We ask that all men wear their name tags. It can sometimes be difficult to remember names - the tags can help.

Dance Floor Etiquette

With such an active membership the dance floor can be crowded at times, making it important that we all observe proper dance floor etiquette. The diagram at the end of this document provides information on line of dance rules. Please do not converse with others on the dance floor when the band is playing. If you are at the edge of the dance floor please ensure that you leave adequate room for the dancers.

Dance Demonstrations

From time to time we are fortunate to have exceptional dancers perform a demonstration dance during the first intermission. Cotillion policy limits demonstrations only to those by experienced dancers who perform and/or teach at the professional level.

If you wish to recommend any eligible dancers for a demonstration dance please contact any Board member.

Canceling Out

If you have sent in your response form but then discover that you cannot attend a dance we would appreciate your calling the dance committee as soon as possible. After the final figures have been given to the venue, refunds are at the discretion of the venue's Banquet Manager.

Suggestions

If you have any suggestions about bands or dance locations feel free to contact any Board member. We book dance locations and bands two years ahead. We are particularly interested in learning about new dance bands that you have enjoyed. Band leaders should be familiar with all common dance rhythms.


III. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board of Directors is composed of 9 member couples or individual members who serve for 3-year terms on a rotating basis. The Board is responsible for ensuring that The Cotillion offers its members enjoyable dances during the season. At the spring dances members are asked to volunteer to serve on the Board of Directors. The existing Board votes in 3 new member couples prior to the end of the season.

In addition to the officers there are membership, sunshine, and dance committees. Each dance is administered by two couples on the Board - the dance committee. Duty on this committee rotates among the Board members.

Further information regarding the Board of Directors is contained in the Constitution of The Cotillion. All members have access to a copy of our Constitution on the Cotillion website. If you need a hard copy, ask any board member.


IV. MISCELLANEOUS

Sunshine Committee

The Board's Sunshine Committee sends cards to members who are seriously ill or injured or who have experienced the loss of a family member. If you wish to have a card sent to a member, please let any Board member know.

Address Changes

If you move or have a new phone number or e-mail address, please remember to notify the Membership Chair of your new contact information.

Member Comments

We always welcome comments and suggestions from members. It is up to all of us to ensure that The Cotillion continues to provide enjoyable dancing experiences throughout the year. Please let us know if you have any ideas for improving The Cotillion.

Dance floor etiquette

Cotillion Member Handbook-November 2015