Virginia National Ballet/Gainesville Ballet is excited to announce two performances of The Nutcracker on Friday, November 25, 2016
at 2 PM and 7 PM. 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 is also sponsoring a Tea With Clara at Dominion Valley Country Club, on Sunday, December 4th at 4 pm. 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 www.gainesvilleballetcompany.org.