Inlet Dance Theatre’s First National Tour Canceled Due To Coronavirus

picture of Inlet Dance Theatre Company on-stage [Inlet Dance Theatre
Inlet Dance Theatre Company [Inlet Dance Theatre]
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Inlet Dance Theatre, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2020, was in the midst of its first national tour when concerns about the coronavirus required the company to suspend any further performances. Inlet had been showcasing ‘What Do You with an Idea,” a work commissioned by Playhouse Square. The piece takes its inspiration from a best-selling children’s book of the same name by Kobi Yamada.

"What Do You Do With an Idea" Book Cover [Compendium]

Inlet had already given performances of “Idea” in both North and South Carolina, as well as Tiffin, Ohio, and Playhouse Square before heading to Rochester, New York, where the company was scheduled to dance at Nazareth College Arts Center last weekend. The March 13 performances were for school children during the day. The March 14 performance was an evening show open to the public.

Inlet Dance Theatre "What Do You Do With An Idea?" [Stephen Bivens]

“We did two matinee performances at that arts center, and they didn't bus in any of the children. They had an I.T. department that was able to live stream both shows,” said Bill Wade, company founder and artistic/executive director.

As the Saturday night performance approached, Wade sensed an unease among all involved.

picture of Inlet Dance Theatre in front of poster for "What Do You Do with an Idea?" [Inlet Dance Theatre]

Inlet Dance Theatre Company [Inlet Dance Theatre]

“My cast was feeling more and more uncomfortable as we're watching the news while we're on the road. I could tell the crew backstage was not comfortable either. There were a lot of unvoiced concerns, by both parties, and reading body language for a living it was pretty easy to detect. So I made the suggestion that we just show the recorded live stream version from Friday to everybody that had bought tickets Saturday night and that really, really worked,” Wade said.

Showing the recorded stream on Saturday night allowed Inlet to pack up their show and come back to Cleveland early, which Wade felt was important given that the members of the company were anxious to return to their families.

Inlet Dance Theatre "What Do You Do With An Idea?" [Stephen Bivens]

“Our organization culture for Inlet Dance Theater is ‘people first, family first.’ Two of the men in the company have wives who have their first child on the way, so that's a concern. Most of the people are married, so we're all concerned about our spouses,“ Wade said.

Inlet Dance Theatre "What Do You Do With An Idea?" [Stephen Bivens]

Wade is worried about the financial well-being for the members of Inlet. Many of the dancers took time off from their other jobs to go on the road. They now find themselves in the position of having lost income from those jobs as well as the canceled tour.

Inlet Dance Theatre "What Do You Do With An Idea?" [Stephen Bivens]

Wade has received more cancellations from venues in Las Vegas, Seattle and Macau, China. Only one venue, in Georgia, has yet to cancel. "But I have every expectation that will also cancel," Wade later said via email.

“We were kind of playing it one day at a time. Last week, it was one hour at a time, literally. I think there's a lot of disappointment, but I think that everybody's more concerned about keeping us and others safe, that that kind of trumps the artistic concern,” Wade said.

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