Forain's interest in themes from the ballet was formed through his friendship with Degas. His ballet pictures mostly date from between the late 1870s and 1900. He was a successful caricaturist and illustrator and he often introduced an illustrative or satirical note into his work. The scene probably takes place between the acts. An 'abonné' in top hat lurks in the background.
image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford