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Teresa Reicheln & Ask la Cour of NYC Ballet in Gainesville Ballet’s 2014 Nutcracker.

Provided by Gainesville Ballet

Gainesville Ballet Company presents a celebratory 10 year Gala performance featuring the premiere choreography of CARMINA BURANA by Artistic Director Rafik Hegab, and a special appearance with ballet superstar Daniil Simkin.

The Gala, one performance only, will be at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas on Friday, March 20, at 7 pm. Tickets are available through the Hylton Box Office or Gainesville Ballet School was founded ten years ago in 1995, and the new Directors, Elysabeth Muscat and Rafik Hegab, took over the helm in March of 2013. Since that time, the organization has gone through a renaissance of tremendous expansion and growth including moving the school into a new, 4,700 square foot facility, expanding the dance curriculum and faculty, adding a Music Program and Special Needs Dance Program, receiving nonprofit status, moving performances into the prestigious Hylton Performing Arts Center, and founding the professional company.

Managing Director Elysabeth Muscat is a former international opera singer who has also been on the voice faculty of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University since 2001, and was the co-founder of Baltimore Ballet, where she led the company in twelve years of growth until she decided to move in a new direction with Rafik Hegab in 2013.

The young, nonprofit professional company based in Northern Virginia is currently home to six excellent, resident dancers, supplemented by at least two guest dancers per performance, and the inclusion of world stars in leading roles. Most recently, New York City Ballet Principal Dancers Teresa Reichlen and Ask la Cour graced the stage at the Hylton in Gainesville Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker, and international principal dancers Nour Eldesouki and Carolina Boscan were the guest artists in the inaugural season last year.

The gala performance will begin with a special performance danced by Daniil Simkin and a partner TBA, followed by Carmina Burana. Audiences will instantly recognize the famous music after the first two opening bars of “O Fortuna”.gainesville ballet 2

Daniil Simkin is an international ballet superstar. He is a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, and is in high demand as a guest artist at top companies around the globe. He is also involved in many collaborative, innovative performances intended to make ballet more accessible to people through social media and digitally based audiences. He is a Russian native, whose parents were professional ballet dancers and then teachers. His parents were dancing in Germany and Austria when Daniil was a child, and they taught him exclusively. Simkin’s first professional position was with the Vienna State Opera Ballet, and then he joined American Ballet Theatre where he was quickly promoted to Principal Dancer, while guesting in numerous other companies. While not large in physical stature, he possesses an amazing technique with powerful jumps and lightning fast pirouettes, as well as a charming personality and great connection with the audience.

Gainesville Ballet Company dancers come from the United States, Egypt, Russia, and Ukraine. Shady Mohamed was formerly a Soloist at the Cairo Opera & Ballet. Aly Mahmoud is also a Soloist from Cairo Opera and Ballet, and recently was in the Top 10 of So You Think You Can Dance Middle East. Kateryna Zaberezhna is a Ukranian Ballet Dancer who has danced with numerous international ballet companies. Alexandru Glusacov is a Russian Dancer who is locally based and is a frequent guest artist in companies across the country. Onica Hobbs, Tiffani Thomas, Mallory Miller, and Stephanie Parkinson round out the rest of Gainesville Ballet Company. Complete biographies of the dancers can be found at, and numerous photos of company dancers are available on our Facebook page:

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Artistic Director Rafik Hegab

Artistic Director Rafik Hegab was inspired to create a contemporary choreography to the iconic, powerful music of  Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. Hegab is originally from Egypt. He graduated from the Academy of Arts University with a degree in Ballet Pedagogy and Choreography. He was a Principal Dancer with the Cairo Opera and Ballet and toured to numerous countries with the company in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, as well as India and Mexico. After leaving Egypt, he became the Assistant Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer for Mystic Ballet in Connecticut, and also danced as a Guest Artist for several regional companies including the USA Ballet Company in Illinois, and Baltimore Ballet, where he met Elysabeth Muscat, now his wife and fellow Director. Although he comes from a strong Vaganova background, he also loves contemporary choreography, and created works such as Under Control, Moulin Rouge, and Moonlight, which were critically acclaimed.

Carmina Burana is the name given to a collection of 11th and 12th century poems and text originating from Europe (mostly the Bavaria area of Germany), written primarily in Medieval Latin. Most of the works seem to be written by clergy students and several poets. The collection was discovered in 1803, and Carl Orff set 24 of the poems to music in 1936. The pieces are mostly for chorus, with some solos for soprano, tenor, and baritone. The themes cover morals and mockery, love, drinking and gaming, satire, human fate, death, the return of spring, lovemaking, and spirituality. Carmina Burana was an instant hit when it premiered, became a popular core of the classical music repertoire, and is often used in films and commercials.

Gainesville Ballet’s Junior Company is comprised of eleven senior dancers from Gainesville Ballet School. These aspiring pre-professionals have the opportunity to dance corps de ballet and solo roles in Gainesville Ballet performances at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, which is a key element in a well- rounded dance education, and provides invaluable preparation for a professional career as a dancer. The Junior Company will be supporting the professional company by dancing in the corps de ballet in this production of Carmina Burana. The students are Caroline Beard, Chloe Banachoski, Emma Dryden, Gabrielle Jeong, Phoebe Judkins, Sara Massei, Rebecca Morneau, Abigail Mumma, Madeline Penn, Isabella Reilly, and Jessica Shalvey. These students range in age from 12 – 18 and reside in Prince William County and Fauquier County. The Junior Company students take, on average, eight hours of dance class per week, plus 3 hours of rehearsals.

Since Muscat and Hegab became the Directors in May of 2013, the students danced in Swan Lake, Act 2, Le Corsaire, Act 3, The Nutcracker, and in contemporary choreography as part of the Arts Alive! Festival, all at the Hylton Performing Arts Center (with the exception of Swan Lake in May of 2013, which was held at Battlefield High School.)

Gainesville Ballet Junior Company Member Sara Massei

Gainesville Ballet Junior Company Member Sara Massei

Gainesville Ballet’s Facebook and other social media pages reach 45 countries: United States of America, United Kingdom, Egypt, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Canada, Italy, France, Russia, Australia, Spain, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Philippines, Switzerland, Peru, Chile, Japan, India, Costa Rica, Netherlands, South Africa, Portugal, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Singapore, Kuwait, Austria, Denmark, China, New Zealand, Ghana, Tunisia, Norway, South Korea, Croatia, Barbados, and Dominican Republic. This international representation covers 38 languages and 45 cities across the globe.

Managing Director Elysabeth Muscat and Artistic Director Rafik Hegab are thrilled to present new repertoire and dancing of high caliber to the area, and look forward to the next ten years of immersion in dance and the arts.


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