Dose of Art #119: Edward Degas – La Classe de Dance (1874)

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.