Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Bow And Curtsey

When The sets for a Scottish Country Dance are Made up, the Bow by the Man to his Partner and her Curtsey in return make up the formal, but sociable and unaffected, acknowledgement that they are going to dance together as a Couple; this honouring of one's Partner has the connotation of "Thank you for asking/agreeing to dance with me" and "I look forward to enjoying this dance with you". At the end of the dance, the Bow and Curtsey is the formal "Thank you for an enjoyable experience".

The Bow and Curtsey are normally performed to long chords at the beginning and the end of the dance. Sometimes the initial chord is replaced by a 4- or 8-bar introduction; if so, the acknowledgement should be fitted into bars 3-4 or 5-6, respectively. In some dances, the deviser specifically instructs each Dancer to acknowledge his/her Partner and one or more other Dancers in The set; for example, during the 8-bar introduction to The Bonnie Lass O' Bon Accord, the Dancers should acknowledge their Partners first and then their 1st Corners.

When the Partner group is not a Couple, each Man and each Lady in the Partner group should, separately, acknowledge each other; for example, in Nice to See You, the Man should honour the Partner on his right and then the Partner on his left; ideally, the chords at the beginning and the end of The Music for (this) Scottish Country Dance should be long enough to make this practicable.

The Bow and the Curtsey should be fitted into the chord or introductory bars either explicitly or implicitly divided into a short beat, a beat at least twice as long and another short beat.

For the Man, standing with feet in ballet first position, throughout:

Beat 1
straighten the body slightly and make Eye Contact with Partner;

Beat 2
maintaining Eye Contact, bow from the waist, keeping the upper back straight;

Beat 3
straighten the body and discontinue Eye Contact with Partner unless you and your Partner will be performing together in the first Figure of the dance.

For the Lady, initially standing with feet in ballet first position:

Beat 1
straighten the body slightly and make Eye Contact with Partner;

Beat 2
maintaining Eye Contact and with the upper back straight, move one foot (but keeping it parallel to its original position) behind the other so that the big toe touches the heel and bend both knees slightly;

Beat 3
straighten the knees and return the feet to ballet first position, discontinuing Eye Contact with Partner unless you and your Partner will be performing together in the first Figure of the dance.


Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Bow and Curtsey

Bow and Curtsey Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Bow and Curtsey'

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