Virginia National Ballet Faculty
Rafik Hegab is the Artistic Director and Choreographer for Virginia National Ballet, where he has been leading the company since 2013. He is a prolific choreographer who creates at least one original World Premiere each season, and is the 2019 Seefeldt Award Winner for Outstanding Individual Artist. Mr. Hegab has choreographed the world premieres of Aida, Aladdin, Carmina Burana, Carmen, Cinderella, Collection, Snow White, La Boheme, Bohemian Rhapsody, Bolero, and Life in the Fast Lane, and restaged The Nutcracker and acts from Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, and Giselle for Virginia National Ballet. He was also a guest choreographer for the Regional Emmy Award Winning production of “The Circle of Life: The Music of Time Rice” at the Music Center at Strathmore by Young Artists of America, which was televised on PBS. His work has been performed at the International Ballet Festival in Managua, Nicaragua, and he is in demand as a choreographer for students needing original choreography for YAGP, etc. He was a 2017 and 2018 Finalist in the Seefeldt Awards for Outstanding Individual Artist, and his work has received great reviews on Broadwayworld.com, DCMetroTheatreArts.com, Inside NOVA, Bull Run Observer, and more. His former students have gone on to dance with the Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet San Antonio, Gelsey Kirkland Ballet, and the Stara Opera Zagora Ballet in Bulgaria. Originally from Egypt, he received his Diploma from the Higher Institute of Ballet in 2000, and his Bachelor Degree in Dance Pedagogy (Vaganova Syllabus) 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, Siegfried in Swan Lake, the principal dancer in Carmina Burana, and the Cavalier in The Nutcracker. He coached award winning ballet dancers who won first place in the Egyptian National Ballet competition. He is fluent in Arabic, Russian, and English
Dina Fadeyeva joined VNB as Faculty in 2020-21, and will also be the Ballet Mistress in 2021-22. She was born in Almaty, Kazahkstan and received her training at the acclaimed Almaty State Ballet Academy. Ms. Fadeyeva danced with the Almaty State Theatre of Ballet and Opera from 1985-1989. In 1989, she went to Moscow, Russia to study at the State University of Arts and Theater (GITIS), where she studied under Marina Semynova; she graduated in 1994. From 1993-1996, Ms. Fadeyeva taught at the Moscow Institute of Contemporary Dance as well as being a guest artist with many companies in Moscow. In 1996, Ms. Fadeyeva returned to Almaty State Ballet Academy to continue her career in teaching and taught at the Almaty Institute of Contemporary Dance. In 2000, Ms. Fadeyeva participated in the International Festival of Traditional Dance in Almaty and won the Grand Prix. In addition, many of Ms. Fadeyeva’s students have won prizes in International Ballet Competitions in Moscow, Budapest, Lausanne, and elsewhere. Between the years of 2000-2005, she worked with the National synchronized swim team in Kazakhstan. The programs she choreographed were performed in World Cup in Barcelona, Spain, in Rome, Italy, in South Korea, and at the 2004 Olympic Games, which was held in Athens, Greece. In 2005, she choreographed her own production, “Triumph of Athena” with music by Mahler, for the Almaty State Theatre of Ballet and Opera. That same year, Ms. Fadeyeva accepted a teaching position with the Ballet Royale in Maryland and came to the United States. She has been teaching in the Northern Virginia area since then.
Saaya Pikula Mason joined VNB in the 2016-17 season, and is thrilled to be in her 6th season with VNB in 2021-22. Saaya has performed many Principal Roles and world Premieres with VNB since she joined in 2016, including the title roles in Cinderella, Carmen, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Mimi in the World Premiere of La Boheme, Jasmine in the Premiere of Aladdin, Soloist in Bohemian Rhapsody, the title role of Snow White, the title role in the World Premiere of Aida, principal dancer in Carmina Burana, Life in the Fast Lane, and Bolero, and principal roles in Claire de Lune and Virus. 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 Nutcracker, Spanish 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 Nutcracker, Cinderella, 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. She is in demand as a guest artist with many ballet companies in Virginia and Florida.
Quinn Fieldstone joined VNB as an apprentice in 2018-19, was promoted to company member in 2019-20, and is now entering her fourth season with VNB. In 2018-19 Quinn performed Angel Queen, Snowflakes, and Flowers in The Nutcracker, Emeralds, Angry Seller, and corps roles in the world premiere of VNB’s Aladdin, corps roles in the premiere of Life in the Fast Lane, and Cigarette Girl in Carmen. In 2019-20 she performed Spanish Soloist in The Nutcracker, and Cinderella’s stepsister in Cinderella. Quinn 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.
Caroline Beard is thrilled to be in her 3rd season with VNB in 2021-22. She danced Clara in The Nutcracker, and corps roles in the premiere of Rafik Hegab’s Cinderella at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. She graduated from Radford University Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance in the spring of 2019. Caroline was a student at VNB School for many years. Her past roles with Virginia National Ballet as a junior company member include Clara and Flowers Soloist in The Nutcracker, Dance of the Cygnets in Swan Lake, and a corps de ballet member in Carmina Burana. Caroline’s choreography has been presented at Radford University and the 2019 ACDA Mid-Atlantic South Regional Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. She both choreographed and performed for the 2019 ISEA symposia in Gwangju, Korea, and the Sungsoo Art Gallery in Seoul, Korea. One of Caroline’s most recent choreographic works, entitled Bits of Brubeck, was a collaboration with James Robey, former artistic director for James Robey Dance and Associate Chair of the Radford University Dance Department. She will be teaching ballet, jazz, acro, and contemporary.
Minghong Xu, originally from China, joined VNB in 2019-20 and danced the Arabian solo in The Nutcracker, and Summer Fairy in Cinderella. The previous season, she danced with Columbia Classical Ballet where she performed many solo and corps roles. She won 3rd place in the 2017 World Ballet Competition Grand Prix in NYC, 3rd place in YAGP Senior Classical in Philadelphia 2017, and was in the top 6, 10, and 12 of the 7th International Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competition in Vienna, Fukuoka International Ballet Competition, and the 2016 YAGP in Beijing, where she also won a scholarship to Washington Ballet School. She trained at ABT’s NYC Ballet Summer Intensive, the Joffrey Ballet School Trainee Program with full scholarship, and the Washington Ballet Summer with full scholarship. She graduated from the Liaoning Ballet Academy in China in 2016. She is thrilled to be in her third season with VNB!
Jennifer spent her early years of dance training at New Tampa Dance Theatre in Florida. Upon moving to Chicago she was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet Academy’s Pre-Professional Program under Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev. Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BFA in Ballet where she had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Penny Saunders, Katie Scherman, Jeff Rogers, and Melonie B. Murray. Additionally, Jennifer was a member of the Character Dance Ensemble, a student group that studies character and folk dances from around the world, where she served as President for two years. Ultimately she traveled and performed repertoire in Hungary, Ukraine, Spain, and Italy. Upon graduating Jennifer joined the U.S. International Ballet where she performed lead roles such as the Mad Hatter, Cowardly Lion, and Bottom to name a few. Jennifer shares her passion of performing with a passion for teaching and has choreographed several children’s cast roles in The Nutcracker for the U.S. International Ballet including the Party Scene and Battle Scene. When the pandemic hit Jennifer decided to go back to school to earn her graduate degree from New York University. In August of 2021 she graduated with a Master of Arts in Dance Education: Teaching Dance in the Professions and ABT Ballet Pedagogy. Alongside her degree, Jennifer is an ABT® Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 7 and Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Jennifer is looking forward to dancing with Virginia National Ballet and teaching for the school for their 2021-2022 season!
Sophie Paczak grew up in Northern Virginia and danced pre-professionally with BalletNova Center for Dance. While there, she performed in The Nutcracker and Coppélia, among other ballets. Senior year, Sophie performed Daphnis et Chloé with the Arlington Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and Concerto Grosso at the Virginia Dance Coalition Gala. She trained under Shu-Chen Cuff, Carmen Perez, and Constance Walsh. In May of 2021, Sophie graduated with a BFA in Dance from Belhaven University. She received Honors from the NSHDA her Senior year and the Bezalel Award her Junior year. While in Jackson, MS, Sophie performed in ballets under Ravenna Tucker-Wagnon, such as Frescoes (restaged by Henry Danton) and Swan Lake as a Cygnet. Most memorably, she was in original works by Laura Morton, such as 3×6, Into the Light as Tumnus, and Nonsensical Vignettes. Sophie joined Belhaven’s dance team and was captain her last three years, cheering on the athletic teams. In her final two years of college, Sophie took photos and headshots for the department and worked in the costume shop, where she learned how to sew and design costumes, tutus, props, and leotards. Sophie is excited to start her professional career as an apprentice with Virginia National Ballet for their 2021-2022 season.
Zoe Segura, originally from Midland, Texas, began her training at Midland Festival Ballet under the direction of Susan Clark and Judy Coleman. After graduating high school, Zoe went on to dance with Texas Ballet Theater’s Studio Company. There, she had the pleasure of performing corps de ballet roles in Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty, as well as lead roles in works by renowned choreographers Tim O’Keefe, Bernard Gaddis, and Hailey Von Schlehenried. Zoe spent her summers training at Milwaukee Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, the National Choreographic Intensive, Texas Ballet Theater, and Burklyn Ballet on scholarship. Zoe is thrilled to be joining VNB for her first season as an apprentice in 2021-2022!
Brianna McMahon began her training at the Allegro West Academy of Dance under the guidance of Catriona Steel in Katy, TX where she completed her RAD training with all distinctions. In the following years, she trained with the Houston Ballet Academy and other artists in the Houston area. She also had the opportunity to perform a leading role in the inaugural cast of the Houston Urban Nutcracker under the direction of Traci Greene. In addition to her training, she’s attended summer intensives at the Houston Ballet Academy, The Kirov Academy of Washington, DC, Oregon Ballet Theatre and New York Dance Project. In 2020, she joined the Texas Ballet Theater as a member of the Studio Training Company where she performed excerpts of Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.