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Ballet Talk for Dancers

bow or courtsey

Guest balletbeginer

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Guest balletbeginer

in my class at the end of class or a comination girls courtsey and guys bow......my teacher said guys bow unless the teacher tells the guy to courtsey.just wondering in your classses to you courtsey or bow.

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Traditionally, men always bow unless performing a comedic role "en travesti" (in drag). I would never expect to do anything else in a ballet class, and frankly, if a teacher seriously asked me to curtsey, I'd probably either leave class right then or never return.

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Dear Balletbeginner,


Thing is , you may need to ask Her (him) to TEACH you to bow.


I remember my teacher Alexandra Sawicka teaching me -- It's very important, the moment when you drop your eyes and let them look at you when you can't see them -0- that is when you are vulnerable to them, and that is when you are showing them hte most respect.... You stand very slightly turned out, with one knee softened. First you open your right arm and you LOOK AT the audience, then you bring your hand to your heart, then drop your eyes and drop your head....


Your teacher may have another way... but it is a formal gesture, and it needs to be taught, as well as practiced. In a class that has mostly women, she will teach the woman's step automatically -- but she may not teach your bow unless you ask her to.....


And now I find, when I'm in the audience, that moment when the dancer drops their eyes IS just as she said, THE most important moment...

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Let's define some terms here. First the bow is a simple head bow, the curtsey is done while standing in attitude à terre, and by bending the supporting knee. There is a formal grand révérence which is done by both sexes, which is based on the bow en passant from 18th-century court etiquette. Stand in croisé, front foot pointe tendue, bend supporting leg. That's a unisex move.

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