In more formal variants of the curtsey, the girl/woman bends the knees outward (rather than straight ahead), often sweeping one foot behind her. She may also use her hands to hold her skirt out from her body. In the Victorian era, when women wore floor-length, hooped skirts, they curtsied using the plié movement borrowed from second-position in classical ballet in which the knees are bent while the back is held straight. Both feet and knees point out so the torso lowers straight down. This way, the lady lowers herself evenly, not to one side.
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