The Ballet Class is an oil on canvas painting by Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas, and was created approximately in the year 1880. This painting portrays two distinct groups of young female dancers in various arrangements and poses. In the upper left hand corner of the painting, a young ballerina wearing a yellow bow on her tutu performs an arabesque on pointe, while two other dancers practice their port de bras (arm positioning) in the floor-length mirror behind her. The mirror seems to open up the composition. An older female chaperone wearing a straw hat sits in a chair reading (possibly a newspaper) in the foreground. Two dancers are to the right of the chaperone. One dancer with really long hair is stretching her foot, and she is wearing a green bow on her tutu. The dancer to the right of her is adjusting the shoulder part of her costume with her left hand, and she has a reddish pink bow on her tutu. Half of the latter dancer's body is cut off at the edge of the painting. The entire center portion of this painting is deliberately left empty. The clusters of dancers are also on diagonals. A faint diagonal line is even visible in this painting. The wall is a vivid yellow, mirroring the bow on one the dancer's tutus. The Ballet Class almost appears to be two separate paintings fused together in the middle. The only thing that marries the two halves is the dark figure of the balding male teacher standing with the dancers on the right, and watching the dancers to the left. Like many of Degas" art works, the ballerinas shown in this painting are not actually performing, but they are shown in their natural environment of a dance classroom. .
For the most part, the colors in this painting are somewhat muted, with the exception of the bows on the dancers" tutus and the bright yellow wall, which stands in stark contrast to the rest of the painting. The only dark colors in The Ballet Class are worn by the adults: the blackish gray outline of the male teacher, and the long dark blue dress that the chaperone is wearing.