Elysabeth Muscat Hegab, Managing Director
Ms. Muscat is the Co-Founder of Virginia National Ballet and Gainesville Ballet School, and has devoted her entire career to the arts, as a performer, teacher, and administrator. Under her leadership, Virginia National Ballet and Gainesville Ballet School have quickly become important cultural institutions in Northern Virginia. Gainesville Ballet School offers outstanding instruction with excellent faculty in many dance forms as well as music, and students have the advantage of performing annually at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in The Nutcracker and the Spring Recital, alongside professional dancers and famous guest artists. Virginia National Ballet performs a full season each year at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, and has been selected to participate in the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Directory for 2017-18. Several tours have been booked already for next season. The company also partnered with the Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra in the recent production of Bohemian Rhapsody and La Boheme, and looks forward to future collaborations with orchestra. She has brought world famous stars to perform with the company including Daniil Simkin, James Whiteside, Ask la Cour, Aaron Smyth, Isabella Boylston, Ashley Bouder, and Teresa Reichlen. She has invited up and coming stars such as Gisele Bethea and Sara Michelle Murawski to present Master Classes for the students.
Before coming to Gainesville Ballet, she was the Founder and Managing Director of Baltimore Ballet Company and School, where she worked for twelve years. Under her direction, the school grew to 300 students, and she established a professional nonprofit company which hosted such stars as Evgenia Obraztsova of the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet, and ABT Principals and Soloists Michele Wiles, Stella Abrera, and Veronika Part, among others. She is a former opera singer who performed leading roles at the Zürich Opera, Staatsoper Prague, Vienna Kammeroper, Theater der Stadt Koblenz, L’Opéra Français, and more. She was the Chair of the Preparatory Voice Department at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, where she was on the faculty from 2001 to 2016, and offers private voice and piano lessons in Gainesville. She was a board member for seven years of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, MD-DC Chapter, where she served as State Governor, President, and Vice President. Ms. Muscat Hegab has a Master of Music in Voice from the Mannes College of Music and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Tulane University. She has won numerous awards for voice, has given Master Classes and served as a judge for many vocal competitions. Her students have been accepted to all the top conservatories including Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music with scholarships, and many are now singing professionally. She is currently on the Board of the Prince William Arts Council. For more details about student accomplishments, visit http://www.elysabethmuscat.com.
Rafik Hegab, Artistic Director, is the Co-Founder of Virginia National Ballet and Gainesville Ballet School. He is a visionary Artistic Director and Choreographer, and an experienced international professional Dancer and Choreographer. Since founding Virginia National Ballet, he has quickly established a reputation as an outstanding Choreographer with his original world premieres of Bohemian Rhapsody, La Boheme, Carmina Burana, Carmen, Collection, and restagings of The Nutcracker, acts of Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, and Giselle. Under his leadership, Virginia National Ballet and Gainesville Ballet School have quickly become important cultural institutions in Northern Virginia.
In addition to creating original World Premieres for Virginia National Ballet each season and his busy teaching schedule at Gainesville Ballet School, he also recently choreographed for “The Circle of Life: The Songs of Time Rice” presented by Young Artists of America at the Music Center at Strathmore, in Bethesda, MD. He received great reviews on www.broadwayworld.com and www.dcmetrotheatrearts.com for his choreography, and the performance will be broadcast by Maryland Public Television on PBS in June. He has been invited twice to bring Virginia National Ballet to the International Ballet Festival in Managua, Nicaragua, and he and the company will be touring to Wise, Virignia in 2017-18 as part of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Directory. He is also a finalist for the Seefeldt Awards, for Outstanding Individual Artist 2017. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in May 2017.
Originally from Egypt, he received his Diploma from the Higher Institute of Ballet in 2000, and his Bachelor Degree in Dance Pedagogy 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, Mr. Hegab toured with the company in 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 was also a company member of Baltimore Ballet. Mr. Hegab is an accomplished choreographer. He was the Ballet Master and Choreographer for the Mystic Ballet, where he created The Nutcracker, Moulin Rouge, Under Control, and Moon Light, among others. Mr. Hegab is an experienced teacher and coach. He was a teacher and trainer with the Cairo Opera modern company, as well as many private ballet schools in Cairo. He was an Assistant Professor of Ballet in the High Institute of Ballet, and coached award winning ballet dancers who won first place in the Egyptian National Ballet competition. He is fluent in Arabic, Russian, and English.