WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2016-2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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49 w i n t e r 2 0 1 6 / 2 0 1 7 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e Assemblies J U L I E S U T H E R L A N D writer P E T E R B A K E R photographer Boston A T R A D I T I O N O F D A N C I N G S K I L L S A N D M A N N E R S Boston some of us go to work. Susan Cole and Donald Mason go dancing. The pair run Boston Assemblies and have taught many generations of Wellesley and Weston kids the fox trot, the swing, and the waltz. For decades, thousands of local preteens have had the pleasure—or the initially morti- fying experience—of learning social dance and etiquette under the scrupulous tutelage of Cole and Mason. Fifth graders from all over Greater Boston attend weekly classes in what has become a regional rite of passage. Donning party dresses and white gloves, and suits and ties, girls and boys start class in a receiving line and greet their instructors with a firm handshake, good eye contact, an audible voice, and a formal introduction. Dance instruc- tion with a "lively mix of traditional dances" follows. Cole notes, "The teaching of tradi- tional social dances lends itself to the social courtesies. Children are taught to speak to each other kindly and to respect each other." Social ballroom dancing has a long history, dating back to a time when ballroom dance instruction (think Arthur Murray), cotillions, and traditional dance clubs were big busi- ness and dominated the social scene in New England. It was a more formal time a century ago, yet Cole and Mason agree that today's program has not needed to evolve much since then—good manners are always in style. There are contemporary situations that their predecessors didn't need to address (cell phones come to mind), but the pair agree that some things don't need updating. Mason notes, "We don't specify cell phone etiquette, but we emphasize the courtesy with which you should do everything." Lost opportunities for selfies aside, smartphones during ballroom dance classes are strictly prohibited. Susan Cole and Donald Mason dancing in the 1980s C O U R T E S Y O F B O S T O N A S S E M B L I E S

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