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5 FAQs about the Debut Cotillion

We answer questions to help you pull off a grand cotillion dance.
PHOTO flickr.com

Aside from the 18 Roses, 18 Candles, and 18 Gifts segments, one traditional element that's also popular among debutantes is the Cotillion dance. In Filipino debut traditions, a cotillion is a waltz dance performed by the debutante and 17 of her friends as a welcoming number on her 18th birthday celebration. If you're thinking of pulling off one, let these questions guide you to have a grand cotillion on your debut party.

Who should be part of my Cotillion?
Your Cotillion entourage includes your closest friends. Nine males and nine females (including you) are paired with each other to perform a dance routine. When it comes to assigning partners, consider your friends' personalities and character. Don't let awkward moments get in the way; pair each one with someone they're comfortable with. After all, it takes a good  team to make an awesome performance, right

How is the Cotillion different from the 18 Roses dance?
The Cotillion dance and your 18 Roses dance are different segments of your debut party. The Cotillion features 18 male and female dancers (see above), while the 18 Roses features 18 males and just one female participant: you! During the 18 Roses dance, each male participant will hand you a rose before taking your hand to dance. The Cotillion is a grand (choreographed) performance, but it doesn't involve flowers.

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What type of music should I use?
Since a Cotillion is a waltz dance, classical music is usually played. However, if you want to add a modern twist, you may have a mix of both traditional and contemporary music to accompany your dances. You may also choose music depending on your theme. Or better yet, ask your choreographer about appropriate song choices, and you can work together to create a unique mash-up for your Cotillion. 

What should I wear?
Most of the time, a formal gown is worn in a Cotillion dance. However, you always have the option to modify the traditional practice--it's your debut, after all. You can wear a dress other than your debut gown or an elaborate costume that suits your theme. As for the color, your cotillion attire really depends on your debut motif. Just remember, as the belle of the ball,you have to stand out of the crowd while striking a nice balance with the rest of your entourage. 

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At what point in the program should I do this?
Usually, the Cotillion is performed at the start of the program as a welcoming number for your debut party. This goes after your grand entrance. However, these days, some debutantes opt instead to do the dance as a finale number to end the program at a high point. It's really up to you, but either way, what matters most is that you gave the performance your best shot and you enjoyed the dance.

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