Two ballet dancers are facing each other with lifted legs while a male character in a military outfit is singing in the background.
In 1830, French caricature drawing reached its height, but the first satirical cartoons would sometimes send their authors to court. To avoid this censorship by the new July Monarchy (1830-1848), artists became more cautious and resorted to hints rather than bold mockery. They also began to turn their wit against social customs and celebrities. During the Second Empire (1852-1870) caricature drawings had become so popular they were sometimes used to decorate plates.
The choreographic performance depicted here is Marco Spada, ou la fille du bandit by Joseph Mazilier. It was created in Paris on April 1, 1857, by the ballet of the Paris Opera.
The caption reads in the original French:
Opéra. — Marco Spada. Un duel au pied entre madame Ferris et madame Rosati.