José Ramón Medina (b. 1921), founder and director of Biblioteca Ayacucho, whose anthology "Ser Verdadero", appears on Monte Avila's back list, is the author of over fifteen books of poetry and an excellent critic and historian of our literature. His poems, from "La Edad de la Esperanza" (1947) to "Sobre la Tierra Yerma" (1971) and "Certezas y Presagios" (1984) speak, as Fernando Paz Castillo expressed it, about "small things that are in the nearness of God, of death and of his profound philosophical preoccupation." José Ramón Medina is also the author of an important history book, "50 Anos de Literatura Venezolana", published by Monte Avila in 1969, which he reviews and brings up to date every ten years.
Ballet has received enormous stature and impetus with the great success of the now world-renowned New World Ballet of Caracas which has two regular seasons, spring and fall. Many experimental groups are being spawned, founded by Venezuelanstrained abroad. There are well-established ballet schools in Caracas as well as major cities of the interior, which give recitals. Many accept non-Venezuelan students. Baryshnikov has performed in Caracas as recently as 1993. Caracas is an active theater city with several plays being performed at any given time. Additionally, there are experimental groups, University players, children's theater, a black theater group near Caracas (Teatro Negro de Barlovento), the well-established Caracas Players who perform in English, and a venerable tradition of puppetry. Caracas has an annual theater festival, and is also the host of a biennial international theater festival. The International Theater Institute (ITI) has an office in Caracas.
See Francine Jacome, " Venezuela: Old Successes, New Constraints on
Venezuela is a country of high social and economic contrasts where educators are typically underpaid. The teaching profession is well regarded, but the majority of Venezuelans have not sought teaching as a profession because of the generally poor compensation. Customarily, primary school teachers were trained in the normal school track of high schools, but in more recent years there have been more rigorous demands placed on them, especially due to the level of specialization that is needed in careers such as special education. As for high school teachers, they have traditionally been trained at the (Teachers College), which requires a course of study of at least five years of higher education. There are four public Teachers College located in Caracas, Barquisimeto, Maracay and Maturn. Usually, teachers continue their education by pursuing a master's degree.