Virginia National Ballet Presents 4th Annual Nutcracker at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

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Provided by Virginia National Ballet/Gainesville Ballet

Gainesville Ballet students in the Party Scene in Gainesville Ballet Nutcracker 2014

Gainesville Ballet students in the Party Scene in Gainesville Ballet Nutcracker 2014

Virginia National Ballet/Gainesville Ballet is excited to announce two performances of The Nutcracker on Friday, November 25, 2016 at 2:00 p. m. and 7:00 p. m. The full-length ballet features Virginia National Ballet’s outstanding roster of American and international dancers, special guest Nurlan Abougaliev, and the students of Gainesville Ballet School. This Nutcracker is the first in the region, starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season!

Virginia National Ballet, led by visionary Artistic Director Rafik Hegab, has an impressive roster of ten dancers from the U.S.A., Japan, and Brazil. Sakura Oka has won numerous international competitions including semifinalist in the Varna International Ballet Competition, and danced previously with Columbia Classical Ballet. Saaya Pikula danced many Principal and leading roles with the Teatrul de Ballet Sibiu in Romania and Columbia Classical Ballet. Leandro de Almeida and Luiz Gustavo Madubuike from Brazil will be dancing leading male roles, and guest dancer Nurlan Abougaliev, who impressed audiences last year in the favorite role of Drosselmeyer, Clara’s magical Uncle and the Marzipan Soloist, will be reprising these roles in 2016. Abougaliev was a Principal Dancer with Moscow City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Soloist with the Russian National Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and Ballet Internationale. He has danced Principal Roles in all the major ballets and has toured extensively around the world.

The upcoming Virginia National Ballet/Gainesville Ballet production will feature a mix of traditional Russian choreography and new choreography and staging by Artistic Director Rafik Hegab, based upon the E.T.A. Hoffman story, with beautiful costumes and scenery. Originally from Egypt, Hegab joined the Cairo Opera Ballet Company in 1999, won first place in the Egyptian National Ballet Competition in 2000, rose the ranks to Soloist and Principal Dancer, and embarked on international tours with the company in China, Lebanon, the Czech Republic, Jordan, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, India, Greece, and Russia. Hegab recently thrilled audiences with the world premiere of Carmina Burana in March 2014, Carmen and Collection in February 2015, and is preparing the world premieres of the ballet La Bohéme, accompanied by the Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra, and Bohemian Rhapsody, a hard rock ballet to the music of Queen, in February 2016.


The role of Clara will be shared by young dancers Camila Griggs and Zoe Frantz. Camila is an 8th grader at Gainesville Middle School, and has been dancing at Gainesville Ballet for over five years.

Zoe Frantz is new to the area, coming from Wisconsin, and she is a 7th grader at Marsteller Middle School. Zoe’s older sister Zeli is also featured in the Marzipan solo in the second act. Camila’s two younger sisters are also students at Gainesville Ballet School and will be sharing the stage with her, as well as her father as one of the parents in the Party Scene! Other solo roles will be danced by company members Savanna Alfanos, Esmae Gold, Emily Hashiguchi, Rebecca Morneau, and Madeline Sosna; and Junior Company members Chloe Banachoski, Zeli Frantz, Maddie Penn, and Isabella Reilly.

Isabella Reilly has been a student at Gainesville Ballet School for many years and is thrilled to be dancing the Arabian solo this year. Her younger brother Ryan has appeared as Fritz for the last three years as well! One of our recent graduates, Caroline Beard, who is a now a dance major at Radford University, will also be joining the performance, along with her younger brother Lyle, who has been Fritz’s friend for the past three years. Other Level 5 students performing supporting roles include Jade Condrell, Maria Mantalvanos, and Laura Rosendale.

Virginia National Ballet/Gainesville Ballet has been under the leadership of Artistic Director Rafik Hegab, and Managing Director, Elysabeth Muscat Hegab since March of 2013. Gainesville Ballet’s professional company has grown each year and now has a roster of ten resident, full time dancers, supplemented by guest artists and world stars. Famous dancers who have graced the stages of past Gainesville Ballet performances include American Ballet Theater Principal Dancers Daniil Simkin, James Whiteside, Isabella Boylston, New York City Ballet Principals Ashley Bouder, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, and Aaron Smyth of the Royal Ballet and Joffrey Ballet, Aria Alekzander of Houston Ballet, as well as Principal Dancers from Germany’s Alto Ballet, Nour Eldesouki and Carolina Boscan.

In February, Virginia National Ballet presents the world premieres of La Bohéme and Bohemian Rhapsody, followed by Snow White with new choreography by Rafik Hegab in April 2016, a perfect ballet for families and young children.

What makes Virginia National Ballet/Gainesville Ballet unique in this area is the combination of an excellent pre-professional school, an outstanding music program, a resident professional company with international talent, and featured guest artists and world stars appearing on stage together, at the prestigious Hylton Center and other theaters in Northern Virginia. The most advanced students have the opportunity to dance leading or solo roles in professional productions with world class dancers by auditioning for the Junior Company. This high level of professionalism and multiple performance opportunities is an invaluable asset for any student’s dance education. While the company was only founded in 2013, it is quickly garnering respect for the excellent artistic quality of the choreography, choice of repertoire, and dancers. The company is currently supported by The Dominion Foundation, NOVEC, and Prince William County.

Ballet patrons will enjoy an elegant experience at the award-winning Hylton Center. Ranked #13 in the country for University Theatres, the Hylton not only has a European style opera house interior with balconies, beautiful lighting and an elegant lobby, it also continues to improve on its state of the art facilities and technical capabilities, which add to the professional aesthetic of performances produced there.


The large stage handles multiple backdrops, quick scene changes, and has a fantastic array of state of the art lighting capabilities. The Hylton Center is located at 10960 George Mason Circle in Manassas, Virginia, and is the go-to theater in Prince William County. Tickets for the holiday performance of Gainesville Ballet are $35 for adults, and $17 for children under age 12. Guests have the option to purchase from the box office at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, online under Gainesville Ballet at or by calling (888) 945-2468. You can also visit .

Virginia National Ballet is also sponsoring a Tea With Clara at Dominion Valley Country Club, on Sunday, December 4 at 4:00 p. m. Guests can enjoy a delicious high tea lunch along with a performance of excerpts from The Nutcracker. Tickets for this popular event can be purchased by contacting Gainesville Ballet at (703) 753-5005.

To learn more about Virginia National Ballet/Gainesville Ballet, visit



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