From the beginning of English royalty, to the novels of Jane Austen, to a classical ballet performance or even at a Magic Kingdom, we will find the beauty of a curtsey. This form of greeting is traditional while resonating with respect and acknowledgement for another person and their presence. A lady will bend her knee and bow her head. It is also appropriate for a lady to bend her knee without bowing her head. A man will bow his head. The curtsey or bow all takes place in a couple of seconds and does not remain longer. The following are some examples of where you will see a curtsey today.
Royalty: When meeting the Queen of England and the Royal Family a traditional greeting is for men to bow their head and for women to curtsey.
Persuasion by Jane Austen: Ann is told the love her life for which she has not seen in eight years is visiting and will be joining her family for dinner. Captain Frederick Wentworth enters the room while Ann is looking out the window. Ann’s younger sisters welcome him into the room. As Ann hears his name she slowly turns around and their eyes meet. Her sister introduces them as he briefly bows his head while she briefly bows her head and curtseys to him all in the same magical moment. He said, “We are acquainted.”
Ballet Performance: Imagine being inside Lincoln Center to enjoy a performance of The New York City ballet company. The dancers are twirling about on taut and widespread point to the masterpiece of Tchaikovsky in Sleeping Beauty. Ballet dancers dressed up in aesthetic beauty in a kaleidoscope of colors before your eyes revealing the fairy tale story that little girls dress up and dream about and big girls remember and love to this day. During the finale the dancers now bow and curtsey as a sign of reverence to the audience and acknowledgement for their applause. As well, at the conclusion of a ballet class the students will curtsey to the ballet teacher and pianist to also give gratitude.
We have seen and experienced manners from many different angles and know how we feel when we are greeted with all the following in one moment. A smile, a handshake, smiling eye contact, a nod, a hug and to hear our name is all completely splendid and extremely likeable and brings a lot of fairy dust to the occasion.