Meet Marie van Goethem. The daughter of a Parisian laundress and tailor, Marie was one of the ballet "rats" at the Paris Opera. For Degas, Marie represented the tension inherent in the life of the young dancer, displaying both the awkwardness of youth and the graceful promise of a great ballerina. Here, in Degas’ famous wax sculpture, she stands posed in a relaxed fourth position, her back arched, belly forward, hands clasped tightly behind her back.
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