To curtsy is to show respect to somebody of higher stature. Curtsying is done by women, while bowing is done by men. Here are some important things to remember so you can curtsy properly (and impress the queen, herself!):
- Know when to curtsy. So when should you curtsy? Because curtsying is an old tradition, it’s only ever done during very formal occasions and while being introduced to somebody who’s has a high position or social status. Some instances? When you are being introduced to the Queen or to any member of royalty, or to the President. When you are a performer, such as a theater actress or dancer, you could also curtsy to your audience as your way of saying your thank you. You might also curtsy to your dance partner before and after your dance, during a very formal ball. Do know that other countries might call for more instances of curtsying; find out first the intricacies of the social etiquette in the place that you are at to know the instances that curtsying is called for. Finally, you should curtsy only when you are a woman; a man curtsying is definitely a major social faux pas.
- Know the simple curtsy. Bow your head to show respect. Hold your skirt with your hands, place one foot behind the other, bend your legs at the knee at an outwards direction, and bend your shoulders forward. Avoid letting your behind stick out. You should do all this in one graceful motion. The simple curtsy is done with one quick bob (no need to hold the curtsy for more than one or two seconds). If your skirt is too narrow and cannot be held out with both hands, you can just hold both your hands to your sides, at the edge of your skirt, with your palms open upward.
- Know the more elaborate curtsy. Reserve the elaborate curtsy for very important people (think royalty). For an elaborate curtsy, your head is more lowered, your knees should bend lower, and you can extend your curtsy to about three seconds. Remember: the more important the person you are meeting is, the more elaborate your curtsy can be. If you are a performer, you might want to curtsy with added flourish. Instead of extending one foot behind the other, you could put one foot in front of you, hold it in a tiptoe, and bend at your knees very low.
- Practice your curtsy well. Remember, curtsying is very easy, but there’s a chance that you lose your balance while you’re performing it. That’s why if you know that you might be called upon to curtsy, you should allot some time to practice it to ensure that you will be able to do it in one very graceful sweep.
Curtsying need not be a very hard process; however, it does take
practice for it to be executed in a very graceful and elegant manner.
Have a partner to practice with; he or she could give his insights about
how poised and elegant you were able to do your curtsy. Good luck, and
hope this helped!