Virginia National Ballet

Ballet Company Website:

Virginia National Ballet  

Ballet Company Phone:

(703) 368-2268

Hylton Performing Arts Center

Venue Website:

Hylton Performing Arts Center  

Venue Phone:

(703) 993-7550



Virginia National Ballet and Gainesville Ballet School are thrilled to present the annual production of The Nutcracker at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

This extremely popular, stand out production, features a cast of award winning international dancers from Brazil, Japan, and the USA, along with the Junior Company and students of Gainesville Ballet School.  Prepare to be thrilled by the exquisite dancing of stars Saaya Pikula, Leandro de Almeida, Emanuel Tavares, and more. 

Audiences will also enjoy the gorgeous production with fantastic choreography, updated costumes, sets, and new special effects in this year's performances. 

Virginia National Ballet's Nutcracker is the first of the season each year, taking place on the day after Thanksgiving at the elegant Hylton Performing Arts Center, and is the perfect way to kick off the holidays!  Ticket prices are also very family friendly, ranging from $15 to $35.

Led by Directors Elysabeth Muscat Hegab and Rafik Hegab, Virginia National Ballet has skyrocketed in popularity in a few short years.  The nonprofit company is one of a small group of select dance companies to be on the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Directory, and will be touring in the State of Virginia this season.  Supporting institutions include The National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Prince William County, NOVEC, The Dominion Energy Foundation, and Wegmans.  The company has also performed at the International Ballet Festival in Nicaragua and has an open invitation to perform each year.

Gainesville Ballet School was voted Best Dance Studio in Northern Virginia 2017 in Northern Virginia Magazine.  The company has been a Finalist in the Seefeldt Awards in 2016 and 2017 for Outstanding Arts Organization, and Artistic Director Rafik Hegab was a Finalist in 2017 for Outstanding Individual Artist.  Hegab is also in demand in the region as a guest choreographer and master teacher.  He choreographed for Young Artists of America at the Music Center at Strathmore, which was televised on PBS.  He has also received great reviews, along with the company dancers, on Inside NOVA, Bull Run Observer,, and more.

Sharing the coveted role of Clara this year are students Zoe Frantz and Camila Griggs.  This will be their second year performing every young ballerina's dream role, so their dancing and interpretation will be even stronger with the experience of performing the role previously.  Both Zoe and Camila are beautiful young dancers who will be competing for the first time in Youth America Grand Prix this season.   Zoe is 13 years old, and an 8th grader at Marsteller Middle School.  Zoe's older sister Zeli is a senior at Patriot High School, and she will be gracing the stage as the Arabian Soloist, Flowers, and Snowflakes.  Camila is 13 years old and an 8th grader at Bull Run Middle School.

Chloe Banachoski, a 17-year-old senior at Brentsville District High School, and a student at Gainesville Ballet for ten years, will be dancing the Angel Queen, Flowers, and Snowflakes.  This performance will be bittersweet for Chloe, as it's her last Nutcracker with Virginia National Ballet, her ballet home for so many years.

In addition to the starring roles danced by Saaya Pikula, Leandro de Almeida, and Emanuel Tavares, solo roles will be danced by professional company members Savanna Alfanos, Annemieke Bruce, Michelle DeAngelis, Esmae Gold, Emily Hashiguchi, Emily Jarrett, Luiz Gustavo Madubuike, Sara Ruesch, and Madeline Sosna.  Saaya Pikula enchanted audiences last year as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Mimi in the world premiere of La Boheme, the title character in Snow White, and solos in Bohemian Rhapsody, Clair de Lune and Virus.  Leandro de Almeida of Brazil impressed audiences as Rodolfo in La Boheme and the Prince in Snow White, in addition to lead roles in Bohemian Rhapsody, Clair de Lune, and Virus.  Luiz Gustavo Madubuike thrilled audiences last year in the full season of performances, and was adorable as Dopey in Snow White. New this year is Leandro de Almeida, also from Brazil, who will be sure to excite audiences with his powerful dancing.  Returning company dancers from last year also include Savanna Alfanos, Esmae Gold, Emily Hashiguchi, and Madeline Sosna who are all beautiful dancers.  New company dancers Sara Ruesch and Emily Jarrett, who recently graduated from Mercyhurst University.  Michelle DeAngelis comes to us from the Montgomery Ballet, and Annemieke Bruce was a dancer with the Atlantic City Ballet.

Tickets sell quickly for Virginia National Ballet's Nutcracker performances at the Hylton.  Get yours early at the Hylton Box Office, or online at (search "Virginia National Ballet").

This Season also includes participation in the Arts Alive Festival at the Hylton in September (where we will present excerpts from last year's hit, Bohemian Rhapsody to the music of Queen), the World Premiere of the Ballet AIDA in February, the thrilling CARMINA BURANA and the world premiere of Hegab's BOLERO in May, and a spring performance at the Hylton in June, including a tour to the Pro Art Series at UVA-Wise in April. 

Virginia National Ballet is also hosting a Halloween Daddy-Daughter Dance at Dominion Valley Country Club in late October!

For more information about all events, please contact Elysabeth Muscat at, 703-753-5005, or visit

All photos courtesy of Melanie Beus (Melephoto.)

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