petit rat de l’opera

degas2petitrarsFrench slang  describing  ballet trainees , 6 to 14 of age,  studying at the  ballet school  of the Opera de Paris.  scurrying about like so many mice,  as extras and goffers during performances. Edgar Degas, French Impressionist painter in later part of 19th cent, painted extensively the world of the petits rats de l ‘Opera.

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