Venezuelan ballet school scrimps, but survives in world’s steepest recession

Global Business

Oil-producing Venezuela is undergoing the steepest recession of anywhere in the world. The government has cut imports, and a collapse in the street value of the currency means most Venezuelans are finding products made outside the country unaffordable.

CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs reports.

Venezuelan ballet school scrimps, but survives in world\'s steepest recession

Oil-producing Venezuela is undergoing the steepest recession of anywhere in the world. The government has cut imports, and a collapse in the street value of the currency means most Venezuelans are finding products made outside the country unaffordable. CCTV America's Stephen Gibbs reports. It may look near perfect. But those in the know can tell that something's not right in this ballet school. For years, its uniform has been green and pink, but like many things in this country, Lycra in those colors is no longer available, so new arrivals wear black. It's just one example of how Venezuela's 60-percent cut in imports really does reach every corner of life here. Ballet shoes are a particular challenge. Notoriously delicate, they can last just 15 days. The younger ballerinas use simple versions made in Venezuela, but the professional shoes are imported. With the collapse of the local currency they're are becoming unaffordable. All this does beg a question: Shouldn't a country, which is struggling to import enough food to provide for its people, just stop worrying about things like ballet? Aan international ballet competition is still held every year in Venezuela. Partly owing to security fears, this year, just one foreign competitor from Costa Rica took part. The show went on nevertheless. For the dancers, and their nervous coaches, art is the purest distraction from the real world outside. Reaching the pinnacles of this particular art form, they say, is all about determination, even sacrifice.

It may look near perfect. But those in the know can tell that something’s not right in this ballet school.

For years, its uniform has been green and pink, but like many things in this country, Lycra in those colors is no longer available, so new arrivals wear black.

It’s just one example of how Venezuela’s 60-percent cut in imports really does reach every corner of life here.

Ballet shoes are a particular challenge. Notoriously delicate, they can last just 15 days.

The younger ballerinas use simple versions made in Venezuela, but the professional shoes are imported. With the collapse of the local currency they’re are becoming unaffordable.

All this does beg a question: Shouldn’t a country, which is struggling to import enough food to provide for its people, just stop worrying about things like ballet?

Aan international ballet competition is still held every year in Venezuela. Partly owing to security fears, this year, just one foreign competitor from Costa Rica took part. The show went on nevertheless.

For the dancers, and their nervous coaches, art is the purest distraction from the real world outside.

Reaching the pinnacles of this particular art form, they say, is all about determination, even sacrifice.