Richmond Ballet Recasts “Swan Lake” Due to Coronavirus Travel Advisory

Richmond Ballet Artistic Director Stoner Winslett announced this morning via press release that Xu Yan and Li Wentao of the National Ballet of China will no longer dance the roles of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried in “Swan Lake” with Richmond Ballet on Feb. 14-16. Due to concerns regarding the coronavirus, both the Chinese and American governments have advised against travel between the two countries.

The lead roles will now be filled by principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre, including Natalie Portman’s dance double from the film “Black Swan,” for evening performances.

“The health and safety of our guest artists, dancers, staff, and patrons is our greatest concern,” explains Winslett in the release. “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. At this time, we are extraordinarily excited to present Sarah Lane and Cory Stearns as Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried, along with our own Cody Beaton and Fernando Sabino, and we are tremendously grateful to the American Ballet Theatre and its artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, for making their special appearance possible on such short notice.”

Here’s more from the release:

Ms. Winslett also announced the exciting news that principal dancers from the renowned American Ballet Theatre, Sarah Lane and Cory Stearns, will now perform these iconic roles Friday, February 14th and Saturday, February 15th at 7pm. Popular Richmond Ballet dancers, Cody Beaton and Fernando Sabino, will perform at the Saturday, February 15th and Sunday, February 16th 2pm performances as previously scheduled.

A San Francisco native, Lane joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in August 2003, became a member of the Company’s corps de ballet in April 2004 and was appointed a Soloist in August 2007. She was promoted to Principal Dancer in September 2017. Lane was a recipient of the Princess Grace Award in 2007 and a 2008 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts. She was the dancing double for Natalie Portman in Fox Searchlight Pictures’ feature film Black Swan.

Born on Long Island, New York, Stearns joined the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in September 2004, the main Company as an apprentice in January 2005, and became a member of the corps de ballet in January 2006. He was appointed a Soloist in January 2009 and a Principal Dancer in January 2011. In 2009, Stearns won the Erik Bruhn Prize for best male dancer.

Richmond Ballet presents Swan Lake Feb. 14-16 with Richmond Symphony at Dominion Energy Center. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 804.344.0906 x224 or in person at the Richmond Ballet Box Office, 407 East Canal Street, Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 6:00pm.


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