Chinese dancers replaced in Richmond Ballet performance amid coronavirus fears

Posted at 4:26 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 16:26:52-05

RICHMOND, Va. — Xu Yan and Li Wentao, two dancers with The National Ballet of China, will no longer perform the lead roles in “Swan Lake” with Richmond Ballet over coronavirus concerns.

The U.S. has advised against all travel to China as the number of cases of the worrying new virus has spiked more than tenfold in a week.

Xu Yan and Li Wentao were not able to come to Richmond due to travel restrictions, ballet officials said.

“The health and safety of our guest artists, dancers, staff, and patrons is our greatest concern,” Richmond Ballet Artistic Director Stoner Winslett said. “We regret that the Richmond community will not have the pleasure of experiencing the artistry of Xu Yan and Li Wentao, but we look forward to strengthening the connections forged on our 2015 tour to China by revisiting this cultural exchange in the future.”

Sarah Lane and Cory Stearns, from the American Ballet Theatre, will now take on the roles of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried during the ballet’s February 14 and February 15 evening performances at Dominion Energy Center. Richmond Ballet dancers Cody Beaton and Fernando Sabino will perform at the February 15 and February 16 afternoon performances as previously scheduled.

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