It's said that Edgar Degas painted ballerinas because of his love for music and the opera. Some said he was entranced by the girls and their pretty dresses. Others speak to his fascination with the effects of artificial light as it played upon his subjects. We can account for at least 45 paintings of dancers.
And if you think about his subjects, there was so much sensuality involved. In the 1800’s, bare shoulders, plunging necklines, cleavage and short skirts, (Tutu’s) must have been very alluring. Degas told the Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard. “It has never occurred them..." when speaking to why he painted ballerinas; ".. my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes.”
An artist that can convey human fluid motion has truly a marvelous gift. Degas owned this gift and it’s displayed in so many of his works. I like to think he may have been enamored by one particular dancer. And she was his inspiration, his muse for the overall body of his work. There is no evidence of this by the way so my opinion is purely conjecture. But, speaking for myself, I know that there is a representation of someone in most of my paintings for a reason.