Richmond Ballet forced to recast ‘Swan Lake’ due to coronavirus outbreak


Two dancers from China, Xu Yan and Li Wentao, were expected to fill the lead roles of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried. With travel restrictions announced Friday, they will no longer be able to come to Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Two members of the National Ballet of China will not travel to Virginia to perform in Richmond Ballet’s production of “Swan Lake,” which is scheduled to begin in two weeks, due to concerns of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The dancers, Xu Yan and Li Wentao, were expected to fill the lead roles of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried.

“Due to widespread concerns regarding the coronavirus, both the Chinese and American governments have advised against travel between the countries; therefore, Xu Yan and Li Wentao are not able to come to Richmond at this time,” a statement from the ballet said on Facebook.

On Friday, the U.S. declared a public health emergency and officials said entry restrictions would be put in place over the weekend. Virginia health officials are awaiting test results in two possible coronavirus cases.

Also on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a seventh U.S. case of the Novel coronavirus.

According to a release from the CDC, the patient who tested positive for the novel coronavirus recently returned to California from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began. Concerns over the outbreak, which has killed more than 250 people in China and infected nearly 12,000, led the World Health Organization to declare the deadly virus a global public health emergency.

The CDC’s Novel Coronavirus 2019 website will provide the latest information on the outbreak.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

You can check out the coronavirus tracking map here.


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