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Hong Kong Ballet Cancels Eisenhower Auditorium Show, Other U.S. Dates Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

by on February 25, 2020 6:48 PM

Hong Kong Ballet has canceled its upcoming United States tour, including a performance at Penn State's Eisenhower Auditorium, because of the growing novel coronavirus outbreak that originated in mainland China.

The classical ballet company was scheduled to perform its production of “Alice (in wonderland)” on April 24 at Penn State, one of five U.S. dates scheduled in April in three states.

“As a global cultural ambassador for Hong Kong, the company was really looking forward to performing for our American fans and are disappointed about postponing our April performances,” artistic director Septime Webre said in a news release. “However, we understand that the health and safety of our dancers and the general public comes first. We sincerely hope that Hong Kong and the rest of the world will recover soon, and are committed to returning to Virginia, South Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as touring in other U.S. cities, in the coming seasons.” 

Penn State's Center for the Performing Arts will refund patrons who purchased tickets for the April 24 performance, not including service fees from phone or online purchases. Those who purchased by cash or check will be mailed a check within two weeks. Those who used a credit card will have the purchase amount refunded to the card used, and the credit should be reflected within three days.

Questions should be directed to 814-863-0255 or [email protected].

“We are, of course, disappointed to not be able to present the Hong Kong Ballet this April as planned,” said George Trudeau, director of the Center for the Performing Arts. “Under these extraordinary circumstances, we completely understand that the company has made the difficult but right decision to cancel this tour.”

More than 80,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and 2,700 deaths have been confirmed worldwide, the vast majority in mainland China, where the respiratory illness was first discovered in late 2019.

In Hong Kong, the coastal city in southern China that operates its own administrative system, there have been nearly 80 cases to date, with two deaths. Local officials have begun to evacuate Hong Kong residents from the mainland and have also established a quarantine to slow the number of people entering the city.

In the U.S., there are 57 confirmed cases COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, mostly among individuals who were repatriated from aboard a cruise ship docked in Japan that saw widespread outbreak, but also more than a dozen other travel-related cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

CDC officials, however, warned on Tuesday that the virus is likely to become more widespread in the U.S., as cases grow in Europe and the Middle East and the epidemic approaches becoming a pandemic — or worldwide spread.

"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a media briefing on Tuesday.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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