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"The Dance Class" by Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches
Corcoran Gallery of Art, William A. Clark Collection, 1926
(c) 2003 the Corcoran Gallery of Art

Look at this!
During his career, French Impressionist artist Edgar Degas created over 600 paintings of ballet dancers. He would often paint his subjects in rehearsals or just before they went on stage, showing the behind-the-scenes world of the dancers.

Think about it.
Look at how he shows people bending or stretching or talking to each other. He captures a single moment in time, but there is a lot going on in the picture. Everyone is moving, just as they would be in real life.  How does Degas use color, light and the grouping of the girls to help make you feel as if you are there, observing the ballet students as they get ready for class?

Get creative!
Edgar Degas was famous for being able to capture motion in his art. Think of things in your life that involve a lot of action: sports, dancing, playing with your friends or riding a bike. Try writing a poem about the same subjects. What kind of words do you use? How can you express excitement and action with words?

Write a poem about this art. Click here to write.


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