Ballet for Girls AND Boys Display the included paintings using the Smart board or via the overhead projector. This can be done by opening the lesson plan via the teacher’s computer from Patterson’s website just as you did at home. Ask the teacher for assistance if needed.
Edgar Degas was a French artist who is best known for his drawings, paintings and sculptures of ballerinas; as well as many sketches and sculptures of horses.
Born in 1834 to a wealthy family, Degas began painting on his own before being accepted to France’s School of Fine-Art at the age of 19. After being accepted, however, he studied there only a little while before moving to Italy.
He lived in Italy for several years and continued to work on his art by painting copies of paintings by famous Italian artists and studying classical sculpture.
After returning to Paris, Edgar Degas was quickly labeled as an Impressionist even though he didn’t think his art was similar to other artists using the Impressionist style.
Degas began to look for new ways to show the human form, especially in movement, and found that ballerinas made great models from which to sketch and paint.
Degas was a true master at creating different areas of space within his paintings, often painting several ballerinas together in one area of a painting in order to emphasize a single dancer in a different part of the painting.
As Degas aged, he suffered from poor eye-sight, however, Degas didn’t give up his art but simply transitioned to sculptures and began creating ballerinas and horse figures by touch.
He died in 1917 at the age of 83. It is estimated Degas made approximately 1500 paintings, pastels, prints and drawings of dancers during his lifetime.
Here are a few questions to ask the students while discussing, The Rehearsal on Stage and The Orchestra of Opera.
What do you think the story is in this painting? It’s about a ballet performance or practice. A ballet is another type of art form, or called a performing art. In most ballets or performances, there are usually good characters and bad characters to create a conflict or interesting story. If you think of Disney movies, there is usually a conflict or fight between characters. And the music is very important in the story telling of the ballet.
Who do you notice first in the paintings? Why? Because the dancer is EMPHASIZED by lights and light colors and dark shading and shadows around the dancers also makes the light dancers “pop” out.
Do the people in the painting look still or moving? Moving or DYNAMIC because their arms or legs are out away from body. The men in the Orchestra painting look more STATIC because their arms are closer to their bodies holding the instruments. The paintings have a lot of MOVEMENT because of the legs, arms or instruments are REPEATED and posed away from their body and in a diagonal direction.
Can you stand up and make a DYNAMIC pose? Are your arms or legs out away from your body? Is it easy to hold this position? Do you think boys and girls can be ballet dancers? Anyone can be a dancer but you have to be very strong and healthy to hold your body in poses and to dance all over the stage.
Here are some questions to ask the students after they have completed their project. If time allows, they can use their own works of art to answer the following.
Does your dancer look interesting and dynamic?
How did you create drama with your colors of crayon and paint?
Basically a brief reflection on what they created. This is designed to be a fun activity that allows students to tell a story about a special space of their own while connecting with a famous work of art.
Ballet for Girl AND Boys (30 minutes)
Please do not defer from this lesson. It is an introduction to drawing people who display movement and will be the basis for a future lesson.
Materials: 12 x 18” white paper, black markers, crayons.
Demonstrate (5 min) the lesson by following these step by step instructions, please remember to have the students put their name on the back of their paper before they get started and to roll up their sleeves and remind them they are using marker to draw so no erasing. They may also want to wear their art smock.
Step One (10 min)
Using a black marker, draw a triangle for the girl ballerina’s torso or body, or a rectangle for a boy dancer. (Demonstrate both on two different papers)
Add the neck and head (2 short lines and a circle).
Demonstrate how to draw the arms out away from body and add hands (girls can be more curvy, boys more straight and angled).
Have girls add a fluffy tutu to their dancer and then two legs. Have boys add legs with pants to their dancer. Boys’ legs may be straight or bent at the knee (2 lines following each other). Finish the drawing with a few background details or add a “light from the ceiling” since Degas uses lighting to create drama.
Step Two (10 min)
After your story is drawn, quickly use crayons to fill in main shapes. Really emphasize that they should use lighter colors and to completely fill in the shape in order for the paint (last step) to be painted over the crayon objects.
Step Three (5 min)
Once students finish coloring have them go to the painting table to add the background color. Paint watercolor paint over the crayon to add drama and contrast to their artwork. Make sure to use a different color paint or darker color than what the picture was colored with.