Venezuela's Crisis and its Consequences
I have not met any other form of government than the one ruling my country nowadays.
Venezuela's decay goes on a very fast pace since as long as I can remember. There was never good news, safe streets, or cheap stuff. On the contrary, some the news are monitored, TV channels eventually shut down, you cannot go outside without being scared of being robbed or shot, and the prices of basic necessities and bills go higher and higher every day.
Many decisions from the government marked a very tough childhood and teenage years not only for me but for the people protesting today (mostly college students). The people from my parents' and grandparents' generations never saw the old and beautiful Venezuela again.
The government's decisions have been more controlling through the years, making it into the dictatorship we have today.
Venezuela's modern art history has created an unmistakable number of artists. The cities are normally decorated with famous artwork from our painters, sculptors, and architects, and let's not forget the spectacular System of Orchestras, our singers, TV productions, actors, sports teams and dancers to which all Venezuelans are proud of.
As far as ballet goes, there was a huge ballet wave from the early 80s to the late 90s. There were many ballet companies that were worth staying in the country to work for and to watch in the audience.
Many famous Ballet dancers from that era came to Venezuela to perform: the young Carlos Acosta, Maya Plisetskaya, Rolando Sarabia Sr., Julio Bocca and many others. They danced at the most important Venezuelan theater, which has the only remaining ballet company nowadays, Ballet Teresa Carreño, also being harmed by the crisis.
Teatro Teresa Carreño is the second largest theater in South America and the biggest in the country. Many of my fellow young friends started their professional career in this company stepping on the huge Ríos Reyna auditorium.
Much bigger and historic Venezuelan ballet dancers, choreographers, and teachers still recognize this theater as their first home. I have heard many stories from them, wishing I could have seen this spectacular BTC ballet era.
The theater has been taken by the government and the performances are held and organized with the state's funding. But this was supposed to be positive. Right?
Not at all...
As the years passed and the inner offices were taken by government supporters, it has been nearly impossible for the dancers to have a balanced pay, benefits, and even freedom of creativity, being forced to create pro-government productions many times.
Little by little, the company members see fewer opportunities to continue dancing in the theater that saw them grow. Nowadays, a company that is capable of making numerous productions a year with an active season is dancing rather one or two times per year maximum. Sometimes, productions were delayed or canceled due to 'events' the President had to host in the Ríos Reyna auditorium.
Their last Nutcracker season was performed mostly by very young ballet students. Auditions were called due to their departure of many company members that escaped from the political, economic, and humanitarian crisis.
Ballet Teresa Carreño is almost empty...
My ballet friends and teachers that are left in the country are risking their lives on the everyday marches, going out with their old and worn pointe shoes on each hand. There are musicians who go out and played their instruments during the marches, the monuments are being damaged due to the violence and hard repression at the streets, and I am sure there have been fewer performances of any art form at the nation's theaters for being forced to delay events, canceling them as a way of protest, or not being able to afford them at all.
The government is killing people in the streets, hospitals, near schools, and universities and even killing a very important part that defines a country: its culture.
This is the time to help each other, as artists and citizens of the world. Let's be aware of what is happening in Venezuela.