Tuesday, August 7

Dancing with Degas

Our third stop on the Tour de France took us back to Paris and the Opera House.  There we learned that it was one of Edgar Degas' favorite places.  A lot of aspects of the Paris Opera House inspired his works from the rehearsals in the classrooms to the final productions on the stage.  

For our tour this time we came in the afternoon rather than the morning and had a different docent than we have ever had before.   We are very grateful for the wonderful docents we have during our regular morning visits.  This docent talked to the children as if they were 2 rather mostly 5 and 6.  
But even with a less than stellar docent the program is wonderful.  The book for this tour stop was  Bijou, Bonbon & Beau: The Kittens Who Danced for Degas.  The book is a perfect mix of fiction and history.  Degas while a significant character in the book is not the main character but it shows his sketching process as well as his love for the Opera House.
The painting that we got to see is The Dance Lesson.   The docent explained how "authenticity is what interested Degas. He actually said that he wanted to "paint life through a keyhole." He liked to capture reality, intimate and informal. He loved the dance, but the performance was for everyone. This was a way of "peeking behind the curtain."

For the art project, each child was given a folio like piece with an outline of the Opera House on the cover and an outline of an empty stage on the inside.  They were encouraged to draw an "authentic" scene of a play from their imagination.  Froggy had tons of fun but I felt it was one of the less effective connections and least useful exercises.


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