Degas has made numerous paintings of the ballerinas in the Paris Opera House. He was especially interested in the practice and training involved. This one is especially nice; training has slowed down for a moment so the teacher -leaning on his batton- can explain something. The dancers use this little pause to rest; the ballerina in front is trying to cool down with a fan, a small dog standing beside her, while the woman on her left is scratching her back. In the shadows on the far left, we see a watering can that is used to keep the wooden floor wet to prevent the dancers from slipping and falling.