Why do we bow after a performance? Where does this tradition come from? For how long has performers been doing this?

Maybe there is some sort of interesting anecdote about this.

  • 2
    This article suggests it was from the days of royal patronage as a bow to the royalty after (and maybe originally before) a performance, since the performers were literally in the presence of the monarch: dancespirit.com/uncategorized/take_a_bow Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 17:25
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    That sounds like an answer Todd
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 17:39
  • Well, one column on a dance web site is not exactly a reputable historical source, so it's more of a supposition than an answer. Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 17:41
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    I had prepared a lovely answer complete with anecdotes to the effect that the tradition evolved from artists dodging the rotten tomatoes and other fruit thrown by a particularly keen audience ... Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


"Bowing was originally a gesture (a movement of the body) which showed deep respect for someone."

After a performance, bowing is basically a sign of respect to the audience, for listening and potentially clapping.

More about bowing here.


In some areas of the world, the musicians acknowledge applause by applauding back. Bowing is another method (which lends itself to a rehearsed bow from the entire cast.)

  • This seems more like a comment than an answer.
    – Aaron
    Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 14:18

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