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Proyecto May 28, 2021

Pulling Back the Curtain on Venezuelan Ballet

Autor(a):
A ballerina uses paint to touch up ballet shoes.
Astrid Arvelo, a soloist at Ballet Teresa Carreño, uses paint to help make her worn-out pointe shoes last longer. Image by Lexi Parra. Venezuela, 2021.

Dancers from international powerhouses started the Venezuelan ballet scene in the early 20th century, and by the 1980s, Caracas became a cultural hub for classical dance. The country's most important cultural complex, Teatro Teresa Carreño, was built in 1983 and became home to the Ballet Teresa Carreño (BTC). "The Golden Era" of ballet in Venezuela had arrived, a time when dancers and choreographers set the tone for international innovation and exploration in contemporary dance practices in Latin America.

Two decades later, the professional ballet scene has lost its luster. BTC is the only remaining classical company in Venezuela. It's currently facing several challenges due to politicization, lack of resources, the absence of an artistic director, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the current socio-economic situation has also forced many company members to leave the country and has caused the theater, which was once called the Cathedral of the Arts in Venezuela, to fall apart.

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