Edgar Degas, Two Dancers on a Stage, c.1874

Edgar Degas, Two Dancers on a Stage, c.1874

Degas was fascinated by ballet. These dancers are probably performing the Ballet des Roses, staged by the Paris Opera company during performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Degas often used unconventional viewpoints to evoke modern urban life. We look down on these two ballerinas, as if watching them from a box beside the stage. They seem to interact, though their expressions and poses are hard to read. Our view of the third dancer, on the far left, is deliberately cut off.