A severe financial crisis in Brazil is weighing down on the pirouettes at Rio de Janeiro's municipal theater. The state's massive deficit this year led to cutbacks in essential services. And the arts are taking a hit, too, showing just how bad the country is doing. Declining performance schedules and unpaid wages leave ballerinas and singers with busted up bullet slippers and multiple side gigs to make ends meet.
This week, they received their salaries for October and their bonuses from 2016.>>
> For an artist, to not be on the stage, to not put your work on stage is a thing that will kill us little by little.
>> Artists say financial stress and less sleep keep them from focusing on their craft. The theater is funded by the Rio State government, which says it's working to correct the situation. Rio State Finance Agency blames the issue on a lack of funding, adding that as soon as more money becomes available, the theater staff will be paid.
As of now, workers are owed salaries for the month of November, which the agency said will be released in January. The theater did not stage any of its traditional performances this year.>>
We are undermining our soul and dying a little bit.>> The theater, built in Rio's historic downtown area, celebrated the city's wealth in the early 20th century. The government announced a federal rescue plan in September to help stabilize the state's finances.