Take Your Bow/How to Say Thank You
During a curtain call recently, I witnessed another performer fail to fully take their bow when their name was called. They just sort of half heartedly walked to almost center, feebly bowed and then sheepishly scooted back into line with the rest of the cast.
Have you seen this happen?
It nearly infuriates me each and every time I see it—which is actually quite often! I am being only slightly dramatic about how upset I get.
I get so upset because I can’t understand why a performer who just bared their soul onstage would not step forward fully and receive the applause they just earned by doing so.
When I was growing up, révérence (French for curtsy or bow,) was taken very seriously in each class I attended. It was even accompanied by the pianist!!
Each class started and ended with an 8-count curtsy sequence that was first directed to our teacher, and then to the pianist. The entire point of the exercise was to show our appreciation to our elders for their time and knowledge as they guided us through class.
Even the English word reverence means deep respect for someone or something.
We felt it, each and every time we curtsied. Which was quite a lot—ten to fifteen classes a week for six years with one teacher. I have bowed. A lot.
To bow onstage is to communicate to the audience your appreciation for their attendance and appreciation of your performance.
That is all.
If performers did not have an audience, we would not be able to perform. Or it would be a rehearsal—not all that exciting. Don’t forget to appreciate the effort they took to get there and witness your brilliance onstage. Thank them with a proper bow.
Speaking of proper bows, mine is rather unorthodox. Here’s why:
The first year I started burlesque, I took ALL the classes. One of the very first was a workshop taught by Sydni Devereaux. She talked about a lot of things, but my favorite part was the part about bows.
“Take your bow!!” She exclaimed.
Up until then, I had done my traditional ballet curtsy during curtain call. But her lesson made me rethink that.
She had said that everyone’s bows should be unique to them as a character. I took that to heart. Especially since she “requested” more high kicks from me. She told me specifically that my bow should include a high kick. 1) so that people remember which performer I was and 2) because of the fact that I do only 2-3 kicks per act, the audience is dying for more! I interpreted that as me giving them one last gift before the show ends.
That is why I walk straight to downstage center, stop, prep and then whack my leg as high as I can. I finish the move off with a small twist and pose and then walk confidently to my place in line. It is my signature “bow.”
My reason for sharing this story is to tie in how often I hear women in this world downplay a compliment. It is for the same reason that performers do not take a full bow.
The person receiving a compliment is embarrassed about standing out and tries to downplay their brilliance so as to not make others uncomfortable. Or they really don’t know/understand their brilliance yet.
Either way, it is important to acknowledge appreciation for a compliment properly. For you and the giver.
A simple “Thank you” is enough.
It is ok for you to receive compliments. You are a brilliant being. Don’t talk the compliment-giver out of their observation of your brilliance. You deserve to shine.
And that is all.
Comment below with your favorite way to acknowledge a compliment!