“You really have to raise the bar for these kids, and these kids come through every time,” he said.
Curtis said the children respected Dutkowsky’s rules and that they listened to him.
According to Dutkowsky, his No. 1 rule during his instruction was respect. The students learned to respect each other, their chaperones, the instructor and most of all themselves, he said.
“Treat people with dignity,” Dutkowsky said. “It’s not that hard.”
Speaking of Dutkowsky, Curtis said, “He was always making sure the children were having a good time while learning the art of ballroom.”
The most fun for Dutkowsky, he said, was when the children “get it.”
“They’re suddenly enjoying themselves and talking to their friends instead of concentrating on what their feet are doing,” he said.
“Those nights were just magical,” Dutkowsky continued. “The kids were on so I could teach them more advanced moves.”
Dutkowsky said he and his wife taught many kinds of dance including; waltz, foxtrot, salsa, merengue, swing and sometimes more involved moves like the tango or cha-cha.
“I would push it depending on if they were on or off on a given night,” Dutkowsky said. “I was always taking their pulse to check where are they and what’s going on.”
Dutkowsky said he and his wife started teaching when the committee that organizes this event asked them to do it.
“It was only supposed to be for a year in between other teachers,” Dutkowsky said.
Dutkowsky was dedicated to teaching and he said he never missed a lesson in 12 years. Dutkowsky then explained that Cotillion started as a Girl Scout project more than 50 years ago.
“I was the fourth instructor in all those years,” Dutkowsky said. “People just stuck with it..”
Dutkowsky said he learned ballroom because he went to a fancy gala when he was studying to be a doctor and noticed that out of the hundreds of couples, only three were on the dance floor having fun. Dutkowsky said he wanted to be one of those couples and he bought ballroom dance lessons for his wife that Christmas.