Melville made this sketch during his 1889 trip to Paris to see the Exposition Universelle. He was accompanied by fellow artists James Guthrie, Edward Arthur Walton and John Singer Sargent. The artists frequented the newly opened Moulin Rouge dance hall, and Melville made a number of studies of the dancers in his sketchbook. He has quickly captured the scene using a few rapid brushstrokes, producing an almost abstract composition. Areas of wet, running washes suggest the colours of the dancer’s bright tulle petticoats illuminated by footlights.