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Dance Class At The Opera perfectly illustrates a clear storyline depicted upon a canvas. The piece showcases a group of ballet dancers rehearsing in a studio. Degas often depicted this study as he was most likely granted the privilege to attend.
Edgar Degas constantly manifested grace and emotion throughout his ballet pieces. Other pieces by the artist set in the same setting include The Dance Class and The Rehearsal. The grand room is filled with rays of sun from a light source to the right of the room. The ceilings are immensely high adding even more depth and longitude to the room. The walls are painted with a soft yellow colour that mimics a gold sheen to it. This gentle colour adds a positive feel to the room, rather than dark shades. To the left of the room, a large double door is slightly open on its side. The viewer can witness the body of a ballerina as her pointed foot and skirt are seen. On the adjoining wall, a large arch opens with columns on either side. There is a small design on the top of the arch. As well, a light blue paint covers the top part of the under passage.
Yet, while the arch is obviously connected to another room, it does not seem as if the ballerinas used it. Through the arch the viewer can spot yet another group of ballerinas rehearsing. It is difficult to make out the exact detail as they are too far away. Yet the bar ballerinas use to practice lines the passage door, making it difficult to get through. The room is filled with a large number of ballerinas. Roughly 15 ballerinas fill the room near one another. To the left of the painting, itÕs obvious that a ballerina with dark features is the focal point of the piece. Interestingly so, part of the painting on the left side was reproduced by the artist in the piece Dance Opera. Both pieces showcase a ballerina holding onto a bar as she looks towards her colleague performing.
The evident scene taking place is a ballerina performing for her small audience. To the left of the painting, a man is seated playing a violin under which the woman performs. A spectator dressed in a white suit holding a cane stands next to the man analyzing the woman. This man is most likely the teacher, or perhaps a spectator. While this is the most prominent scene within the piece, there are other stories occurring. A ballerina near the left side of the canvas stretches as she pushes her leg to the side. She is dressed in a stunning white costume, alongside all the other ballerinas. A few more characters are hidden near the right wall, holding onto the bar as they practice. The ballerinas throughout the piece seem to be practicing, however cannot keep their eyes off of the one performing. If the man is indeed a spectator dressed in white, then they had their best ballerina perform for him. The other woman must be analyzing her skill and grace, while pretending to be practicing themselves.
While Degas is known as an impressionistic artist, the piece holds many realist details to it. Degas preferred to refer to himself as a realist, even though his impressionist style greatly matched that of other French artists Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet. Never the less, the piece intertwines both styles as exquisite detail is matched with delicate brush strokes. Finally, a competitive energy graces the canvas as the viewer wonders what other secrets went on in the room. While itÕs obvious that one of the young ballerina is performing, the viewer has to wonder what the other ballerinas are thinking.