In this canvas painted in oil in 1877, the French painter Edgard Degas returns again to one of his favorite themes: ballet, and does not focus on the great performances in theaters, but in moments of effort and sacrifice that the general public does not see, in rehearsals. As can be seen in his other works such as Ballet Dancers or The Dance Class.
The essay of Degas
In fact, it can be said that training and rehearsals in dance schools fascinated him more than the shows themselves. Since it is in these moments when there is more naturalness and they allow him to capture expressions, gestures and unique and most particular movements. In addition to the fact that it is in these rehearsals that the steps and movements are repeated countless times, so that the artist can see and paint them with innumerable variations.
On the other hand, Degas also use these paintings to make his own tests and experiments. For example, in this canvas that he owns theArt Gallery and Museum in Glasgowin Scotland, since in this canvas he creates a most innovative composition.
Flee from a traditional frame and with that construction of the image it helps to generate a perspective that hunts for the movement and vibration of light. To the left he places a spiral staircase that opens up the space of the room and at the same time launches a diagonal cutting the lines of the floor and that reaches towards the groupof dancers who are in the foreground.
This group of dancers occupying the right part and the foreground are at rest, while there is a second group in the background and center, which are in movement, dancing.
Without a doubt it is a most cinematographic frame, as it is where the painter puts the points of interest. For example, the dance steps remain in the background, while the vaporous detail of the dancers' tutu becomes much more important, and especially how one of them is being sewn and darned.
That differentiation of rest against movement is not only manifested in the location within the canvas, it is also reflected in the colors chosen, because the girls who dance preferably wear white with details in pink and yellow, but the girls in the foreground are painted in shades of blue and orange.
In short, this canvas is a masterpiece of how to harmonize and contrast at the same time elements such as the mobile and the immobile, the colors and the different lights that vibrate in each part of the painting.