Danseuses à la barre is also emblematic of Degas’ continued interest in the Opéra’s stage and its spacious classrooms. In his drawing, Degas slants the floor plane on a diagonal and crops the ballerina by the frame while her limbs and gestures remain comfortably contained with the picture, absorbed in her craft. Without narrative, the viewer's focus is drawn directly to the dancers' movements and gestures. We thus find ourselves at the periphery of a rehearsal, watching the dancers practice from a distance. Ultimately, Degas’ oeuvre captures what Eunice Lipton has called "'the demystification of the dance,' a matter-of-fact engagement with long hours in class and rehearsal room, where youthful physiques were tuned for their fleeting roles in the footlights" (quoted in Richard Kendall, ed., Degas and the Dance (exhibition catalogue), Detroit Museum of Arts, Detroit, 2003, p. 137). For Lipton, Degas fed into the enigmatic character and charm of the ballet, blurring the boundaries between theater and reality.
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