Provided by Virginia National Ballet
Virginia National Ballet is thrilled to be back with a full season at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, after taking a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The company is offering a fantastic season, with a wide variety of performances including The Nutcracker in November, Snow White in March, and three brand new World Premieres on Feb. 12: The Beatles, Tango Nights, and For those we lost, all choreographed by VNB’s award winning Artistic Director, Rafik Hegab.
VNB wants to pay homage to everyone who has lost their lives to COVID with For those we lost, a powerful one act contemporary ballet set to the iconic music of Max Richter and Samuel Barber. The George Mason University Chorale will be singing the Agnus Dei by Barber live during the performance. The music is incredibly heart wrenching and brings to life the emotions of mourning, nostalgia, and love. Most people will recognize the music as it was used in the movie Platoon in the original version of the Adagio for Strings by Barber.
Also on the program is The Beatles, a high energy one act contemporary ballet to The Beatles’ greatest hits, played live by The Liverpool Lads, a Beatles tribute band based out of Ohio. Songs that will be performed include Come Together, Something, Get Back, Yesterday, I Saw Her StandingTthere, and more. The Beatles were an historic rock band that inspired generations of future rock and pop musicians, and their music is still alive and popular, with over 25 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. Whether you are old enough to remember The Beatles or too young to know about them, you will be rocking to the music, choreography, and dancing!
The third premiere on the program is Tango Nights, a sultry neo-classical one act ballet to the music of famed Argentine Composer Astor Piazzolla, with many tango-inspired elements. This ballet follows the adventures of three couples in a Tango bar in Argentina, and will have the audience swept away in romance, laughter, and intense dancing and music. Piazzolla created “nuevo tango” by incorporating elements of classical music and jazz into traditional tango music. Rafik Hegab, the choreographer, is also creating a new style with this ballet, which blends neo-classical ballet with tango elements, and is a perfect fusion of these multiple styles of music and dance, mixed with drama.
Rafik Hegab was full of artistic vision and energy after the one-year hiatus due to COVID. While VNB has collaborated with live orchestra in the past, this is the first time to use a live rock band as well as a large chorale during a performance, and also the first time he is blending tango with neo-classical ballet. Each of these three world premieres will have unique costumes, sets, and lighting, to transport you into three different worlds in one evening.
About the Artists and Performers
Artistic Director Rafik Hegab is originally from Cairo, where he was a Principal Dancer with the Cairo Opera Ballet Company for many years before coming to the USA. He has been with Virginia National Ballet since it was founded in 2013 and has choreographed many World Premieres including Aida, Aladdin, Bohemian Rhapsody, Bolero, Carmen, Carmina Burana, Cinderella, La Boheme, Life in the Fast Lane, Snow White, and more. He is the winner of the 2019 Seefeldt Award for Outstanding Individual Artist and was a guest choreographer for the Regional Emmy Award winning production of “The Circle of Life: The Music of Time Rice” by Young Artists International at The Music Center at Strathmore.
The George Mason University Chorale is a choir of 80 to 100 singers led by Dr. Lisa Billingham, the Chorale’s Conductor. The University Chorale has performed at numerous University events including the Inauguration of GMU President Cabrera and for a special visit by President Barack Obama. Alumni of the University Chorale are leaders in the Northern Virginia community and beyond in many diverse fields including teaching, performing and government positions. In VNB’s performance of For those we lost, approximately 40 singers will be performing.
The Liverpool Lads are a well-known Beatles tribute band based out of Ohio with a busy schedule playing festivals, nightclubs, and private events. Scott Duress plays John Lennon, E.S. Hider plays Paul McCartney, AJ Tscherne plays George Harrison, and Joe Koch plays Ringo Starr.
There are two performances on Saturday, Feb. 12 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center: 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through the Hylton Box Office and website.
For more information about Virginia National Ballet, visit virginianationalballet.org