March 19, 2014


Rafik Hegab, Artistic Director. Originally from Egypt, he received his Diploma from the Higher Institute of Ballet in 2000, and his Bachelor Degree in Dance Pedagogy (Vaganova Method) and Choreography from the Academy of Arts in Cairo in 2009. He joined the Cairo Opera Ballet Company in 1999, won 1st place in the Egyptian National Ballet Competition in 2000, became Soloist in 2002, and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2004. As a Principal Dancer with the Cairo Opera Ballet Company, Mr. Hegab performed principal roles around the world including China, Lebanon, the Czech Republic, Jordan, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, India, Greece, and Russia. He danced the Matador in Don Quixote with Julio Bocca, John in Zorba the Greek, Ali in Le Corsaire, Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, Siegfried in Swan Lake, the principal dancer in Carmina Burana, and the Cavalier in The Nutcracker. He was guest dancer for the USA Ballet Company (Cavalier in The Nutcracker) and Baltimore Ballet.  Since co-founding Virginia National Ballet in March 2013, he has choreographed many world premieres including Aida, Bolero, La Boheme, Bohemian Rhapsody, Carmen, Collection, Snow White, Carmina Burana, and many short contemporary works. He also restaged The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and the Dream Scene of Le Corsaire.  He was a guest choreographer for “The Circle of Life:  The Music of Time Rice” presented by Young Artists of America at the Music Center at Strathmore, which was also televised on PBS and nominated for a regional Emmy Award.  He has received wonderful reviews for his choreography on,, Inside NOVA, and the Bull Run Observer.  He is fluent in Arabic, Russian, and English.


Olga Aru, a native of Ukraine, has danced with The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker which toured internationally, The Imperial Russian Ballet, the Ballet Festival Mikkelin in Finland, the Silesian State Opera in Poland, the Cairo Opera Ballet, Les Ballet Persans in Stockholm, Sweden, the Touring Company Franceconcert, and Brighton Ballet Theater.  While touring with The Moscow Ballet, she was in charge of the children’s auditions as audition director, ballet master, and assisting with choreography.  She has received a grant from Aleph Dance Company in Rome, and has been a guest artist and teacher with numerous dance companies in the US.  She received her Diploma from the Donetsk State Ballet School and Degree from the Kiev State Ballet College in The Ukraine.  She is very excited to be joining VNB for the 2018-19 Season.


Alice de Nardi graduated from the Ukrainian Academy of Ballet in Kiev in 2012 as a professional ballet dancer. In 2011 she toured with the Royal Czech Ballet in “Giselle” in Rome, Italy.  In the same year she danced in the ballet “La Divina Commedia” at the Arena di Verona in Italy.  From 2012 to 2014 she was a Soloist with the Macedonian Opera and Ballet in “Giselle”, “Raymonda”, “Esmeralda” , “Don Quixote” and other works. From 2015 until 2018 she has been a First Soloist at the Cairo Opera House, performing solo roles in ” The Nutcracker”, “Swan Lake”, “Le Corsaire”, “Coppelia”, ” Danses qu’on croise”, ” Carmina Burana”, “Cinderella” and others.  She is thrilled to be joining VNB in the 2018-19 season!

Quinn Fieldstone began her training in Calgary, Canada at the International School of Ballet under the direction of Umran Sumen, and at Edge School for Athletes under the direction of Cyndi Scott. With Jeunesse Classique Ballet, Quinn was selected to perform lead roles in Coppelia, Giselle, and Nutcracker, and also had the pleasure of performing the Rite of Spring alongside the Turkish National Ballet. In 2016 Quinn moved to Montreal to train at Ecole Superieure de Ballet du Quebec’s post graduate training program where she trained under the direction of many internationally acclaimed teachers and choreographers, including multiple former artists of Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal and Gabby Baars of Les Ballet Des Monte Carlo. During her training at ESBQ, Quinn had the honour of performing in contemporary pieces by renowned choreographers such as Gioconda Barbuto, Andrew Skeels, and Shawn Haunsell. Quinn also performed in Ballet Ouest de Montreal’s annual production of the Nutcracker where she danced the roles of lead Flower Pas de Deux and Russian Dancer. Quinn is very excited to be joining Virginia National Ballet as an Apprentice for the 2018/2019 season.

 Masaya Kaneko of Japan is very excited to be joining VNB in 2018-19.  He previously danced with Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida in the ballets Harlequinade, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and more.  He also danced many roles with Alberta Ballet II in Canada, Kamiya Ballet Art, K-Ballet Company, and at the Rock School in Philadelphia, PA, where he studied on full scholarship.  He was a Semi-Finalst at the 2010 Prix de Lausanne Competition, 1st Place winner in the Nagoya National Ballet Competition in 2017, and 3rd place in the 2017 Saitama National Ballet Competition.


Amanda Michel grew up in Newton, Massachusetts.  She began her dance training at Charles River Ballet Academy, under the direction of former Boston Ballet dancer Emily Hrones Umland, where she performed principal and soloist roles.  Amanda also studied privately with Kristin Beckwith, and with Andréa Mafra Gregori on full scholarship.  She spent her summers studying at Burklyn Ballet Theatre on scholarship, American Ballet Theatre, and Princeton Ballet School on scholarship.  Upon graduating high school, Amanda danced with American Repertory Ballet as a trainee for two years, where she performed in the company’s six week Nutcracker season in Snow, Flowers, Spanish, and as the Maid in the party scene.  She is excited to be joining Virginia National Ballet as an Apprentice for the 2018-2019 season!

Ahmed Nabil of Egypt graduated from the Higher Institute of Ballet where he received his Bachelor of Dance Degree in Pedagogy and Choreography.  He joined the Cairo Opera Ballet Company where he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer, and has performed Principal Roles in Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Giselle, The Nutcracker, Carmen, Carmina Burana, Cinderella, Spartcaus, Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet, Zorba, and many other ballets.  He has toured with the company throughout the Middle East, Russia, China, Europe, India, Canada, and Mexico.  He was a finalist on SYTYCD Middle East, and was a featured performer for the Cairo Opera International Film Festival.  He has won numerous awards in Dance Competitions, and is also an experienced teacher and coach, as well as Assistant Director at the Cairo Opera House.  He is very excited to be joining VNB for the 2018-19 season.

Saaya Pikula headshot

Saaya Pikula joined VNB in the 2016-17 season, and is thrilled to be dancing her 3rd season with the company as Principal Dancer in 2018-19.  Saaya has performed the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Mimi in the World Premiere of La Boheme, Soloist in Bohemian Rhapsody, the title role of Snow White, the title role in the World Premiere of Aida, principal dancer in Carmina Burana and Bolero, and principal roles in Claire de Lune and Virus at the Arts Alive Festival and the VNB Spring Recital at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.  She has also been a guest artist at many companies in the region, and was previously a dancer with Teatrul de Ballet Sibiu in Romania from 2012-2014 where her repertoire included Gulmare in Le Corsaire, Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Snow Queen, Shepherdess, Waltz of the Flowers Soloist in The NutcrackerSpanish Whim, Four Seasons, Coppelia, and Cenusa Timpulu, and with Columbia Classical Ballet in the 2015-16 season in the following roles:  Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, soloist roles in The NutcrackerCinderella, and contemporary ballets.  Saaya received her ballet training at Central Florida Ballet, Russian Ballet Academy of Orlando and The Rock School of Dance Education, where she studied two summers on full scholarship.

Lydia Sanders has a Bachelor of Dance Degree and a Minor in Psychology from the University of South Carolina, where she graduated with a 4.0 GPA, was a Capstone Scholar, South Carolina Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Recipient, and USC Dean’s Scholar Recipient. She was also Valedictorian and ETA Sigma Alpha Chapter of the National Honor Society.  Lydia began her ballet studies at the Southeastern School of Ballet in Columbia, SC.  She trained during the summers at Miami City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and CPYB.  She was a member of the USC Dance Company where she performed many leading roles in Balanchine Ballets as well as Contemporary repertoire.  She also danced lead roles with International Ballet of Greenville, SC and at the Southeastern School of Ballet.  She is thrilled to be joining VNB for the 2018-19 season!

Emanuel Tavares Filho is from Brazil.  He joined VNB in the 2016-17 season, performing Rodolfo in the Virginia National Ballet World Premiere of La Boheme, Soloist in the World Premiere of Bohemian Rhapsody, The Prince in the world premiere of Snow White, and Soloist in Clair de Lune and Virus.  He also was featured in Rafik Hegab’s Choreography for “A Whole New World” in Young Artists of America’s performance at The Music Center at Strathmore, The Circle of Life:  The Music of Time Rice, which was televised on PBS.  In the 2017-18 season, he performed the role of Radames in the World Premiere of Rafik Hegab’s Aida, Cavalier in The Nutcracker, and soloist roles in Carmina Burana and the Premiere of Bolero.  He has also been a guest artist for The Nutcracker throughout the State of Virginia and in Florida. He began studying classical ballet at the age of 14, at the Goretti Quintela Ballet School. He performed as a principal dancer in great Ballets like La Source, Don Quixote, Napoli, and La Bayadere, among others. He was awarded in several festivals as “best dancer”, receiving international and national scholarships. He performed the role of Siegfried in Swan Lake with the Brazilian Company of Classical Dances in São Paulo.  He is thrilled to be dancing again as Principal Dancer with VNB in 2018-19.