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Artistic Director, George Staib

Born in Tehran, Iran, George Staib is of Armenian descent and has been living in the United States since the age of ten. He began his dance training at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Though his BA is in political science, he actively studied dance, music and theater throughout his undergraduate years. He then went on to earn an MFA in dance and choreography from Temple University where he served on the faculty upon graduation. Notable teachers include Ann Vachon, Marcia Dale Weary, and Betty Jones; company credits include Ann Vachon/Dance Conduit, Coriolis Dance Company, Gathering Wild Dance Company, and Paula Kellinger and Dancers. In addition, the fall of 2006 provided Staib the opportunity to perform with the José Limón Dance Company as a guest artist in their re-creation of Missa Brevis. He has performed his critically-acclaimed solo NarcissEros extensively at venues across the United States and Europe.

In 2001 he joined the dance faculty at Emory University where he teaches modern and ballet techniques, choreography, and Contemplate, Create, Debate, a freshman seminar he created to introduce students to the practice of seeing and making art. He is also a regular advisor to honor’s candidates in the Dance, Theater and Music Departments at Emory. He also serves as an adjudicator for the American College Dance Association, has been commissioned to create and set works across the United States and has been recognized by Dance Teacher Magazine as one of the top five dance educators in the country. Staib is also a contributing writer and critic for ArtsATL, Atlanta’s only source for arts news, information and critical evaluation.

In 2011, Staib received Emory’s prestigious Winship Award for senior lecturers. He traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to spend five weeks studying Gaga technique with members of the Batsheva Dance Company, release technique with Iris Enez, and choreographic workshops and feedback sessions. In 2016, Staib was invited to Stockholm to teach at two of Sweden's top performing arts colleges, Södra Latin and BalletAkadamien and to set work on Saraceno Dance, a Swedish contemporary company.

In 2019, Staib was promoted to the rank of Professor of Practice and awarded a second Winship Prize for Lecturers at Emory University. He will travel to Australia, New Zealand and England to begin collaborative ventures with artists dedicated to “devised theater and dance” processes, while also touring his latest work, "fence" across the United States.

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Managing Director Sarah Hillmer

As an Atlanta native, Sarah has dedicated over 17 years to the professional dance world as a dancer, assistant to choreographers, ballet master, stager, educator and creator. Her company credits include Atlanta Ballet, glo (as a founding member) and staibdance. During Hillmer’s tenure as balletmaster at Atlanta Ballet, she worked alongside world-renowned figures in the ballet world and coached dancers in seminal works by Ohad Naharin, Jiří Kylián, Wayne McGregor, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, JohnMcFall, Helgi Tomasson, Gemma Bond, Craig Davidson, Ricardo Amarante and Yuri Possokhov. It was during her time at Atlanta Ballet that ongoing artistic relationships with Twyla Tharp and Helen Pickett were forged.She was instrumental in the building of their full-length ballets and continues to stage their work globally. Hillmer’s work as a stager and assistant have taken her to Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Kansas City Ballet,Oklahoma City Ballet, Smuin Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, University of North Carolina School of the Arts(UNCSA), Alberta Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Scottish Ballet. In 2017, Hillmer formed ImmerseATL(www.immerseatl.com), a contemporary dance training platform designed to serve as a bridge between the pre-professional and professional world of dance for young artists. In August 2019, Hillmer stepped into the role of managing director for staibdance and is thrilled to be part of leading this extraordinary organization forward.

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Rehearsal Director, Sean Nguyen-Hilton

Sean Nguyen-Hilton is an artist, choreographer and teacher working in Atlanta. Locally, Nguyen-Hilton’s work has been presented at the Human Rights Campaign Gala, Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi, Atlanta Ballet’s Fellowship Ensemble, Museum of Contemporary Art GA, Emory Dance Company ,and The High Museum of Art. He is a Co-Artistic Director of Fly on a Wall, an idea house that presents and supports innovative performance. Previously Nguyen-Hilton danced for Columbia Classical Ballet, River North Dance Chicago, Armitage Gone! Dance, gloATL, and Staibdance.

In 2015 Sean was a Walthall Fellow through the Atlanta arts organization WonderRoot and a Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences Distinguished Fellow with Fly on a Wall. In 2016 ArtsATL said “Sean Hilton has emerged as one of the city's leading choreographers.” The same year, he was an Idea Capital Grant winner with Fly on a Wall. Sean is currently Artist-In-Residence at Kennesaw State University seannguyenhilton.com


Collaborators

 
Gregory Catellier (Lighting Designer) , an Atlanta-based dance artist, choreographs, performs, teaches and designs lighting for dance. Catellier has designed lighting for hundreds of dances both in and out of academia for artists such as Paul Matteson, David Neumann and Lisa Race, as well as local artists at staibdance, CORE, Full RadiusDance and Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, among others. Between2009and 2017, Greg Catellier was the lighting supervisor/resident light designer for the Bates Dance Festival. The following year, he shifted into the role of the production manager with the festival. Catellier started dancing at Webster University before earning a BA in dance from Arizona State University and his MFA in dance with an emphasis in design and production from Ohio State University. As a professor of practice at Emory University, he teaches modern dance technique, principles of design, lighting design, choreography, movement improvisation and contact improvisation.In addition, he acts as resident dance lighting designer and technical director for EmoryDance Program. Catellier has been manufacturing eclectic dances forAtlanta’s discerning local community since 2002. Catellier Dance Projects ,  initiated in 2010, is an organization dedicated to creating intimate dance performances for the Atlanta community. His award-winning dance for camera collaborations with Seattle-based dance/media artist Jeff Curtis have been selected for many dance for camera festivals.The most recent film,  Transit,  has been selected for more than 20 international film festivals

Gregory Catellier (Lighting Designer), an Atlanta-based dance artist, choreographs, performs, teaches and designs lighting for dance. Catellier has designed lighting for hundreds of dances both in and out of academia for artists such as Paul Matteson, David Neumann and Lisa Race, as well as local artists at staibdance, CORE, Full RadiusDance and Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, among others. Between2009and 2017, Greg Catellier was the lighting supervisor/resident light designer for the Bates Dance Festival. The following year, he shifted into the role of the production manager with the festival. Catellier started dancing at Webster University before earning a BA in dance from Arizona State University and his MFA in dance with an emphasis in design and production from Ohio State University. As a professor of practice at Emory University, he teaches modern dance technique, principles of design, lighting design, choreography, movement improvisation and contact improvisation.In addition, he acts as resident dance lighting designer and technical director for EmoryDance Program. Catellier has been manufacturing eclectic dances forAtlanta’s discerning local community since 2002. Catellier Dance Projects, initiated in 2010, is an organization dedicated to creating intimate dance performances for the Atlanta community. His award-winning dance for camera collaborations with Seattle-based dance/media artist Jeff Curtis have been selected for many dance for camera festivals.The most recent film, Transit, has been selected for more than 20 international film festivals

Tamara Cobus (Costume Designer)  has been designing nationally and internationally for theater, dance, and performance artists and personal clients for over thirty years. Her designs have been seen on runways for fashion, bridal and arts festivals. After a long career running her own business, she took the position of costume director for Richmond Ballet and then Atlanta Ballet. She retired from directorship to pursue a new career in film with  Black Panther  being one of her recently credited films.

Tamara Cobus (Costume Designer) has been designing nationally and internationally for theater, dance, and performance artists and personal clients for over thirty years. Her designs have been seen on runways for fashion, bridal and arts festivals. After a long career running her own business, she took the position of costume director for Richmond Ballet and then Atlanta Ballet. She retired from directorship to pursue a new career in film with Black Panther being one of her recently credited films.

Ben Coleman (Sound Designer and Composer)  is a British multi-disciplinary artist residing in Denver, CO. His practice encompasses performance, music, sonic art and mixed-media installation projects. Coleman studied contemporary performance making at Brunel University, London, during a thriving period for live art and experimental music in the city. He engaged passionately with both scenes, which remain touchstones for his practice. Moving to the US in 2006, Coleman instigated a slew of musical projects. Following a number of prolific years making and performing music in popular Atlanta bands Judi Chicago and Noot d’ Noot, he became certified in music recording and audio production at Recording Workshop, OH. These fresh skills catalyzed a shift across disciplines with a return to performance and live art and new roles as composer, sound designer and sonic artist. His practice has since grown through collaboration to encompass an increasing range of curatorial projects and diverse projects with choreographers, visual artists and theater practitioners.

Ben Coleman (Sound Designer and Composer) is a British multi-disciplinary artist residing in Denver, CO. His practice encompasses performance, music, sonic art and mixed-media installation projects. Coleman studied contemporary performance making at Brunel University, London, during a thriving period for live art and experimental music in the city. He engaged passionately with both scenes, which remain touchstones for his practice. Moving to the US in 2006, Coleman instigated a slew of musical projects. Following a number of prolific years making and performing music in popular Atlanta bands Judi Chicago and Noot d’ Noot, he became certified in music recording and audio production at Recording Workshop, OH. These fresh skills catalyzed a shift across disciplines with a return to performance and live art and new roles as composer, sound designer and sonic artist. His practice has since grown through collaboration to encompass an increasing range of curatorial projects and diverse projects with choreographers, visual artists and theater practitioners.

Into Outof Studio (Technical Artist) is an Atlanta artist duo comprised ofJessica Anderson andSebastian Monroy. The two artists combine their backgrounds in digital media and computer graphics to create installation artworks that immerse viewers in new sensory experiences that connect people to each other in new ways. Sebastian’s experience in video game programming brings fresh takes on interactivity to their work, while Jessica’s experience as a scholar of storytelling grounds their work in narrative. They began working together in graduate school atGeorgia Tech and find that through art they fall more in love with each other and the world every day. They have worked with organizations like Digital Naturalism Labs, T.Lang Dance,Mass Collective, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Brutal Studio, Eyedrum Gallery and TheBakery.Through their artwork, they challenge viewers to engage critically and creatively with the possibilities that digital technologies bring to artistic experience

Into Outof Studio (Technical Artist)is an Atlanta artist duo comprised ofJessica Anderson andSebastian Monroy. The two artists combine their backgrounds in digital media and computer graphics to create installation artworks that immerse viewers in new sensory experiences that connect people to each other in new ways. Sebastian’s experience in video game programming brings fresh takes on interactivity to their work, while Jessica’s experience as a scholar of storytelling grounds their work in narrative. They began working together in graduate school atGeorgia Tech and find that through art they fall more in love with each other and the world every day. They have worked with organizations like Digital Naturalism Labs, T.Lang Dance,Mass Collective, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Brutal Studio, Eyedrum Gallery and TheBakery.Through their artwork, they challenge viewers to engage critically and creatively with the possibilities that digital technologies bring to artistic experience

Sara W. Culpepper (Scenic Designer)  is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University (BA) and of the University of Virginia (MFA). Currently, she is based in Atlanta, working as a lecturer in the Department of Theater and Dance, resident scenic artist and scenic designer with Theater Emory at Emory University. Designing nationally and locally, she has had the pleasure of working with many talented artists, including Heritage Theatre Festival, The Atlanta Opera, The Culbreth Stage, the Alliance Theatre, Dogwood Studios, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, The Center for Puppetry Arts, CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Sara studied painting, drawing, architecture and furniture making. While studying for her undergraduate degree, she became intrigued by architecture and art. She wanted to find an avenue that took both of these interests and combined them to form a collaborative artistic experience. Scenic design found her. Her approach to set design incorporates the integration of the human form within its environment. She enjoys the translation of text into location and the exploration of how the characters interact with the audience. Research is a huge part of this discovery, and she pulls from her personal experience and emotional responses to produce the surroundings. Line, texture and color are essential to her composition and design.

Sara W. Culpepper (Scenic Designer) is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University (BA) and of the University of Virginia (MFA). Currently, she is based in Atlanta, working as a lecturer in the Department of Theater and Dance, resident scenic artist and scenic designer with Theater Emory at Emory University. Designing nationally and locally, she has had the pleasure of working with many talented artists, including Heritage Theatre Festival, The Atlanta Opera, The Culbreth Stage, the Alliance Theatre, Dogwood Studios, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, The Center for Puppetry Arts, CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Sara studied painting, drawing, architecture and furniture making. While studying for her undergraduate degree, she became intrigued by architecture and art. She wanted to find an avenue that took both of these interests and combined them to form a collaborative artistic experience. Scenic design found her. Her approach to set design incorporates the integration of the human form within its environment. She enjoys the translation of text into location and the exploration of how the characters interact with the audience. Research is a huge part of this discovery, and she pulls from her personal experience and emotional responses to produce the surroundings. Line, texture and color are essential to her composition and design.

 

Company Members

 
Anna Bracewell Crowder  was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and began her dance training at an early age at Decatur School of Ballet. While receiving her classical training at DSOB, she attended and graduated from DeKalb School of the Arts, where she studied under the legendary Pamela Jones Malave. Anna went on to receive a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Georgia. While at UGA, she was a member of CORE Concert Dance Company (CCDC) under the direction of Bala Sarasvati, performing contemporary and aerial dance with training emphasis on LMA and Bartenieff Fundamentals. After graduating in 2012, Anna returned home to Atlanta where she began dancing with Staibdance and is currently within her 4th season with the company. Anna is also currently a dance Artist with CORE Performance Company (CPC) in Atlanta and with them has performed in theaters, museums, festivals and other site specific spaces across the U.S. and internationally. In her time with CPC, she has had the opportunity to work with notable artists such as Amanda K. Miller, Isabelle Saulle, Adolfo Vargas, Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, Leslie Scates, Lori Teague, and Sue Schroder. Outside of her work with CPC and Staibdance, Anna has had the pleasure of dancing with Blake Beckham and The Lucky Penny, Erik Thurmond, and Catellier Dance Projects! Anna has also been internationally recognized in her collaborative work with Association Manifeste (Toulouse, France) in which she performed in several spaces across France and the U.S.

Anna Bracewell Crowder was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and began her dance training at an early age at Decatur School of Ballet. While receiving her classical training at DSOB, she attended and graduated from DeKalb School of the Arts, where she studied under the legendary Pamela Jones Malave. Anna went on to receive a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Georgia. While at UGA, she was a member of CORE Concert Dance Company (CCDC) under the direction of Bala Sarasvati, performing contemporary and aerial dance with training emphasis on LMA and Bartenieff Fundamentals. After graduating in 2012, Anna returned home to Atlanta where she began dancing with Staibdance and is currently within her 4th season with the company. Anna is also currently a dance Artist with CORE Performance Company (CPC) in Atlanta and with them has performed in theaters, museums, festivals and other site specific spaces across the U.S. and internationally. In her time with CPC, she has had the opportunity to work with notable artists such as Amanda K. Miller, Isabelle Saulle, Adolfo Vargas, Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, Leslie Scates, Lori Teague, and Sue Schroder. Outside of her work with CPC and Staibdance, Anna has had the pleasure of dancing with Blake Beckham and The Lucky Penny, Erik Thurmond, and Catellier Dance Projects! Anna has also been internationally recognized in her collaborative work with Association Manifeste (Toulouse, France) in which she performed in several spaces across France and the U.S.

Britanie Leland  began her dance training in West Palm Beach, Florida, attending the Bak Middle School of the Arts, and Alexander Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts. She attended the University of South Florida, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance Performance, and a minor in Business Administration. Following graduation, she relocated to Atlanta, where she has worked with Staibdance, Emily Cargill and Dancers, Fly on A Wall, and Catellier Dance Projects. Through these companies, Britanie has had the opportunity to perform multiple works in Sweden, Italy, and all across the United States. Since graduating college, Britanie has taught, choreographed and worked administratively throughout Atlanta. Her work has been presented at Skwirlhaus, and Localmotion Arts Festival. She currently is a pre-school assistant teacher at The Montessori Academy in Decatur, running the school's dance and gymnastics program. This is Britanie's sixth season with Staibdance.

Britanie Leland began her dance training in West Palm Beach, Florida, attending the Bak Middle School of the Arts, and Alexander Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts. She attended the University of South Florida, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance Performance, and a minor in Business Administration. Following graduation, she relocated to Atlanta, where she has worked with Staibdance, Emily Cargill and Dancers, Fly on A Wall, and Catellier Dance Projects. Through these companies, Britanie has had the opportunity to perform multiple works in Sweden, Italy, and all across the United States. Since graduating college, Britanie has taught, choreographed and worked administratively throughout Atlanta. Her work has been presented at Skwirlhaus, and Localmotion Arts Festival. She currently is a pre-school assistant teacher at The Montessori Academy in Decatur, running the school's dance and gymnastics program. This is Britanie's sixth season with Staibdance.

Chrystola “Chryssy” Luu  was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but much of her childhood was spent in Monroe, Louisiana where she began her dance training at the age of three years old. Chryssy continued her training through college, attaining a dance scholarship and attending New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. She completed her degree at the University of Georgia, graduating Cum Laude and receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. While attending UGA, Chryssy was a member of CORE Concert Dance Company –an aerial and contemporary dance company under the direction of Bala Sarasvati. Some highlights of Chryssy’s dance career include winning Dancer of the Year in the AMTC national talent competition, being recognized for her talents with the NAACP, performing in various music videos and television shows and being a member of Zoetic Dance Ensemble for four seasons under the direction of Mallory Baxley. Chryssy currently runs her after school dance program, Just Dance It! LLC and choreographs for several studios in theAtlanta area. When Chryssy is not dancing, she enjoys creating new gluten free recipes,attending Crossfit classes and planning her next travels.

Chrystola “Chryssy” Luu was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but much of her childhood was spent in Monroe, Louisiana where she began her dance training at the age of three years old. Chryssy continued her training through college, attaining a dance scholarship and attending New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. She completed her degree at the University of Georgia, graduating Cum Laude and receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. While attending UGA, Chryssy was a member of CORE Concert Dance Company –an aerial and contemporary dance company under the direction of Bala Sarasvati. Some highlights of Chryssy’s dance career include winning Dancer of the Year in the AMTC national talent competition, being recognized for her talents with the NAACP, performing in various music videos and television shows and being a member of Zoetic Dance Ensemble for four seasons under the direction of Mallory Baxley. Chryssy currently runs her after school dance program, Just Dance It! LLC and choreographs for several studios in theAtlanta area. When Chryssy is not dancing, she enjoys creating new gluten free recipes,attending Crossfit classes and planning her next travels.

Amelia Reiser Solodkin,  a native of Norman, Oklahoma, began dancing at a young age at Classical Ballet Academy under the direction of Julie Blacksten. Amelia went on to attend The University of Georgia where she completed a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance. While at UGA she trained and performed as a member of CORE Concert Dance Company (CCDC) under the direction of Bala Sarasvati, and Dance Repertory Project under the direction of Rebecca Gose. Over her 20+ years of dancing, Amelia has had the opportunity to work with numerous dance-makers and artists including T Lang Dance, Maryn Whitmore, Christina Noel Reaves, Emily Christianson, and Greg Catellier. Her work has been shown in festivals and venues both locally and internationally. In addition to dancing with Staibdance, Amelia teaches yoga at Decatur Yoga, and is a yoga and mindfulness teacher and administrator working with incarcerated youth through local nonprofit Centering Youth. An avid lover of dramatic skies, mountains, and trees, Amelia spends most spare moments in her garden, or escaping the city in search of adventure and wilderness. Amelia joined Staibdance in 2013.

Amelia Reiser Solodkin, a native of Norman, Oklahoma, began dancing at a young age at Classical Ballet Academy under the direction of Julie Blacksten. Amelia went on to attend The University of Georgia where she completed a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance. While at UGA she trained and performed as a member of CORE Concert Dance Company (CCDC) under the direction of Bala Sarasvati, and Dance Repertory Project under the direction of Rebecca Gose. Over her 20+ years of dancing, Amelia has had the opportunity to work with numerous dance-makers and artists including T Lang Dance, Maryn Whitmore, Christina Noel Reaves, Emily Christianson, and Greg Catellier. Her work has been shown in festivals and venues both locally and internationally. In addition to dancing with Staibdance, Amelia teaches yoga at Decatur Yoga, and is a yoga and mindfulness teacher and administrator working with incarcerated youth through local nonprofit Centering Youth. An avid lover of dramatic skies, mountains, and trees, Amelia spends most spare moments in her garden, or escaping the city in search of adventure and wilderness. Amelia joined Staibdance in 2013.

James La Russa  began his dance training at The Atlanta Ballet and was a student of the pre-professional division by the age of 9. During his time as a student, James received full scholarships to the Atlanta Ballet School, Australian Ballet School, Atlanta Ballet Summer Intensive, Boston Ballet Summer Intensive, and the Orlando Ballet Sumer Intensive. He’s performed in multiple works adjudicated for the Southeast Regional Ballet Association as well as the Regional Dance America National Festival. After graduating high school, James attended Emory University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Dance & Movement Studies as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. During his time at Emory, James was part of the Emory Dance Company, captain of the Hip-Hop dance crew TrickaNomeTry (TNT), and a company member with George Staib’s professional contemporary-modern dance company Staibdance. Throughout college, James’s academic dedication earned him numerous awards including the Friends of Dance Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, William & Otis Benton Scholar, and the Sudler Prize.  Since graduating college, he’s worked and performed with other professional Atlanta-based companies such as Fly on a Wall and Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. Throughout his career, James has worked with notable choreographers and instructors including Twyla Tharp, Simon Dow, and John McFall, and has engaged in company class with Batsheva Dance Company under the direction of Ohad Naharin.  Presently, James resides in Decatur, Georgia, and is currently in his fifth season as a company member with Staibdance. James has traveled with George Staib’s company to perform multiple works in Stockholm Sweden, Sorrento Italy, and across the Southeast United States. James continues to exercise his devotion to both dance and veterinary medicine, as he balances his professional dance career with his role in the emergency room as a Critical Care Veterinary Technician at Briarcliff Animal Clinic.

James La Russa began his dance training at The Atlanta Ballet and was a student of the pre-professional division by the age of 9. During his time as a student, James received full scholarships to the Atlanta Ballet School, Australian Ballet School, Atlanta Ballet Summer Intensive, Boston Ballet Summer Intensive, and the Orlando Ballet Sumer Intensive. He’s performed in multiple works adjudicated for the Southeast Regional Ballet Association as well as the Regional Dance America National Festival. After graduating high school, James attended Emory University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Dance & Movement Studies as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. During his time at Emory, James was part of the Emory Dance Company, captain of the Hip-Hop dance crew TrickaNomeTry (TNT), and a company member with George Staib’s professional contemporary-modern dance company Staibdance. Throughout college, James’s academic dedication earned him numerous awards including the Friends of Dance Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, William & Otis Benton Scholar, and the Sudler Prize.

Since graduating college, he’s worked and performed with other professional Atlanta-based companies such as Fly on a Wall and Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. Throughout his career, James has worked with notable choreographers and instructors including Twyla Tharp, Simon Dow, and John McFall, and has engaged in company class with Batsheva Dance Company under the direction of Ohad Naharin.

Presently, James resides in Decatur, Georgia, and is currently in his fifth season as a company member with Staibdance. James has traveled with George Staib’s company to perform multiple works in Stockholm Sweden, Sorrento Italy, and across the Southeast United States. James continues to exercise his devotion to both dance and veterinary medicine, as he balances his professional dance career with his role in the emergency room as a Critical Care Veterinary Technician at Briarcliff Animal Clinic.

Laura Morton , a Maryville, TN native, was trained under her mother’s direction, Amy Morton Vaughn, at Van Metre School of Dance and as a member of the Appalachian Ballet Company.Laura was a scholarship recipient and studied at many summer intensives including Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Chautauqua Institute of Dance, and Atlanta Ballet. At age 16, she trained with the Houston Ballet Academy where she completed her high school studies online. In 2014, she joined Atlanta Ballet’s second company and in 2016 was promoted to an apprentice. In her professional experience, Laura has been featured in celebrated choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Liam Scarlett, George Balanchine, David Bentley, Helen Pickett, Gemma Bond, as well as Atlanta’s Heath Gill and Tara Lee .  Currently, she is a ‘protégé’ with Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. Laura was a scholarship recipient to Staibdance’s summer intensive in Italy for the past two summers and is incredibly honored to be joining Staibdance this year to continue to grow and discover with the company.

Laura Morton, a Maryville, TN native, was trained under her mother’s direction, Amy Morton Vaughn, at Van Metre School of Dance and as a member of the Appalachian Ballet Company.Laura was a scholarship recipient and studied at many summer intensives including Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Chautauqua Institute of Dance, and Atlanta Ballet. At age 16, she trained with the Houston Ballet Academy where she completed her high school studies online. In 2014, she joined Atlanta Ballet’s second company and in 2016 was promoted to an apprentice. In her professional experience, Laura has been featured in celebrated choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Liam Scarlett, George Balanchine, David Bentley, Helen Pickett, Gemma Bond, as well as Atlanta’s Heath Gill and Tara Lee. Currently, she is a ‘protégé’ with Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. Laura was a scholarship recipient to Staibdance’s summer intensive in Italy for the past two summers and is incredibly honored to be joining Staibdance this year to continue to grow and discover with the company.

Gianna Mercandetti  hails from Sarasota, FL, where she began her dance training at the Sarasota Ballet Academy. She attended Florida State University for her B.F.A. in Dance, graduating summa cum laude in 2013. During her undergraduate studies, she danced as a member of the Tallahassee Ballet, directed by Rick McCullough. In 2014, she moved to San Francisco, where she studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and worked as a satellite writer for The Dance Enthusiast. Following several months spent abroad, she returned to FSU for her M.F.A. in Dance, which she received in May 2018. Gianna has performed in works by Rodger Belman, Sharon Eyal, Tristan Ching Hartmann, Gerri Houlihan, Bill T. Jones, Alex Ketley, Ohad Naharin, Megan Carvajal, and Ryan McMullen. Her most recent choreographic works, in which she performed, include Where is here? (MFA Concert, Florida State University, 2018), am/are (co-choreographed with Jasmine A. Booker for Chorus Novae, Atlanta, GA, 2018), and She/Me/Her/I (Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL, 2018). In fall 2017, she was commissioned by Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company to develop her work, us., for the company’s December production, Voices of SCD. In 2015/16, she was the rehearsal director for Alex Ketley’s Poem (Part 1), set on FSU dancers, and in 2016/17 she was Rodger Belman’s rehearsal assistant on the Bell and Belman project, involving dances made in conversation with paintings by visual artist Trevor Bell. Gianna is an avid traveler, food—especially sweet—enthusiast, Pilates practitioner, photographer, and musician. This is her first season with Staibdance.

Gianna Mercandetti hails from Sarasota, FL, where she began her dance training at the Sarasota Ballet Academy. She attended Florida State University for her B.F.A. in Dance, graduating summa cum laude in 2013. During her undergraduate studies, she danced as a member of the Tallahassee Ballet, directed by Rick McCullough. In 2014, she moved to San Francisco, where she studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and worked as a satellite writer for The Dance Enthusiast. Following several months spent abroad, she returned to FSU for her M.F.A. in Dance, which she received in May 2018. Gianna has performed in works by Rodger Belman, Sharon Eyal, Tristan Ching Hartmann, Gerri Houlihan, Bill T. Jones, Alex Ketley, Ohad Naharin, Megan Carvajal, and Ryan McMullen. Her most recent choreographic works, in which she performed, include Where is here? (MFA Concert, Florida State University, 2018), am/are (co-choreographed with Jasmine A. Booker for Chorus Novae, Atlanta, GA, 2018), and She/Me/Her/I (Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL, 2018). In fall 2017, she was commissioned by Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company to develop her work, us., for the company’s December production, Voices of SCD. In 2015/16, she was the rehearsal director for Alex Ketley’s Poem (Part 1), set on FSU dancers, and in 2016/17 she was Rodger Belman’s rehearsal assistant on the Bell and Belman project, involving dances made in conversation with paintings by visual artist Trevor Bell. Gianna is an avid traveler, food—especially sweet—enthusiast, Pilates practitioner, photographer, and musician. This is her first season with Staibdance.

Virginia Spinks  is an Atlanta native. She began her dance training at six years old at Vista Grove Dance Centre. She is a graduate of DeKalb School of the Arts where she studied under Dean Williams, Anna Dunn, and Marci Levkoff. During this time, she also studied under Robert and Jennifer Mason of City Gate Dance Theatre and became a member of the National Dance Honors Society. She went on to earn a dual degree (BA) in Dance and Religion & Anthropology from Emory University. While at Emory, she had the chance to study with artist like Sarah Barry, Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, T.Lang, and the ImmerseATL’s Sarah Hillmer. In 2017, she had the opportunity to apprentice with Staibdance and intern for the Summer Intensive Program in Italy. This is her second season with the company. Outside of dance, Virginia is a professional within the non-profit scene in Atlanta, a researcher, activist, and Humanity in Action Senior Fellow.

Virginia Spinks is an Atlanta native. She began her dance training at six years old at Vista Grove Dance Centre. She is a graduate of DeKalb School of the Arts where she studied under Dean Williams, Anna Dunn, and Marci Levkoff. During this time, she also studied under Robert and Jennifer Mason of City Gate Dance Theatre and became a member of the National Dance Honors Society. She went on to earn a dual degree (BA) in Dance and Religion & Anthropology from Emory University. While at Emory, she had the chance to study with artist like Sarah Barry, Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, T.Lang, and the ImmerseATL’s Sarah Hillmer. In 2017, she had the opportunity to apprentice with Staibdance and intern for the Summer Intensive Program in Italy. This is her second season with the company. Outside of dance, Virginia is a professional within the non-profit scene in Atlanta, a researcher, activist, and Humanity in Action Senior Fellow.

Nicole Johnson,  Atlanta native and a founding artist of Fly on a Wall, began her professional career with the Atlanta Ballet in 2002 where she had the pleasure of working under the direction of John McFall. In 2009, she left the ballet to pursue more contemporary work with dance maker Lauri Stalling’s and this led to the formation of gloATL. In her five years helping to build glo, Nicole was a part of numerous site specific installations and performances and had the opportunity to work with artists of various media.  This gave her the understanding that all work is truly collaborative at heart and became the foundation of Fly on Wall, which she began with Nathan Griswold and Sean Nguyen-Hilton in 2014. Since their inception, Fly on a Wall has created 13 original works for Atlanta, and are now proud to be artists in residence at the Windmill Art Center. As an independent artist in Atlanta Nicole has worked with The Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theater, Sky Creature, and was a 2016 Hughley Fellow. Nicole is ever grateful for her family and friends who believe in a life in pursuit of the arts.  www.flyonawall.buzz | photo: Christina Massad

Nicole Johnson, Atlanta native and a founding artist of Fly on a Wall, began her professional career with the Atlanta Ballet in 2002 where she had the pleasure of working under the direction of John McFall. In 2009, she left the ballet to pursue more contemporary work with dance maker Lauri Stalling’s and this led to the formation of gloATL. In her five years helping to build glo, Nicole was a part of numerous site specific installations and performances and had the opportunity to work with artists of various media.

This gave her the understanding that all work is truly collaborative at heart and became the foundation of Fly on Wall, which she began with Nathan Griswold and Sean Nguyen-Hilton in 2014. Since their inception, Fly on a Wall has created 13 original works for Atlanta, and are now proud to be artists in residence at the Windmill Art Center. As an independent artist in Atlanta Nicole has worked with The Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theater, Sky Creature, and was a 2016 Hughley Fellow. Nicole is ever grateful for her family and friends who believe in a life in pursuit of the arts.

www.flyonawall.buzz | photo: Christina Massad

Jimmy Joyner,  grew up in West Tennessee. Raised in a household and atmosphere where he was left the space to be creative and allow his imagination to run wild. Once leaving home he moved through many different groups and organizations of people. He is very grateful to have some of that time spent in Atlanta. There he was introduced to the founding members of Fly on a Wall.This is a very special project for him and is thankful for the opportunity to continue to explore who is an artist amongst a truly wonderful and nurturing environment. Jimmy now lives in Nashville Tennessee where is teaches dance and yoga and is a co-founder of Nashville Design House .

Jimmy Joyner, grew up in West Tennessee. Raised in a household and atmosphere where he was left the space to be creative and allow his imagination to run wild. Once leaving home he moved through many different groups and organizations of people. He is very grateful to have some of that time spent in Atlanta. There he was introduced to the founding members of Fly on a Wall.This is a very special project for him and is thankful for the opportunity to continue to explore who is an artist amongst a truly wonderful and nurturing environment. Jimmy now lives in Nashville Tennessee where is teaches dance and yoga and is a co-founder of Nashville Design House.

 

Apprentices

Patsy Collins  is a movement artist born and raised in Chicago. A recent graduate of Emory University, she earned her B.A. in Dance & Movement Studies and Business. While at Emory she had the opportunity to study with artists like Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, Sean Nguyen-Hilton, Andre Lumpkin, and Greg Catellier. Her dedication to the program earned her scholarships to attend American Dance Festival's summer and winter programs. She also served as a STIPE Fellow, and received the Alan Rackoff Prize for her achievements in movement research.  Patsy is a graduate of the ImmerseATL Artist Program, led by Sarah Hillmer, where she had the opportunity to perform at Inman Park Festival, Off the EDGE Dance Festival, Windmill Rosetta Series, and present original choreographic work. Currently, Patsy resides in Atlanta and rehearses with Staibdance, Kómanse Dance Theater, and is presenting work in several local spaces. She has performed at CORE Dance's Fieldwork Showcase, the Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, and Fall in the Fourth. When not dancing, Patsy works at the Museum of Design Atlanta as their Marketing & Communications Associate. This is her first season with Staibdance.

Patsy Collins is a movement artist born and raised in Chicago. A recent graduate of Emory University, she earned her B.A. in Dance & Movement Studies and Business. While at Emory she had the opportunity to study with artists like Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, Sean Nguyen-Hilton, Andre Lumpkin, and Greg Catellier. Her dedication to the program earned her scholarships to attend American Dance Festival's summer and winter programs. She also served as a STIPE Fellow, and received the Alan Rackoff Prize for her achievements in movement research.

Patsy is a graduate of the ImmerseATL Artist Program, led by Sarah Hillmer, where she had the opportunity to perform at Inman Park Festival, Off the EDGE Dance Festival, Windmill Rosetta Series, and present original choreographic work. Currently, Patsy resides in Atlanta and rehearses with Staibdance, Kómanse Dance Theater, and is presenting work in several local spaces. She has performed at CORE Dance's Fieldwork Showcase, the Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, and Fall in the Fourth. When not dancing, Patsy works at the Museum of Design Atlanta as their Marketing & Communications Associate. This is her first season with Staibdance.



Bailey Harbaugh  graduated as the Outstanding Senior from the Department of Dance at Kennesaw State University with Magna Cum Laude honors in the Spring of 2019. It was here she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree and spent 8 consecutive semesters with the KSU Dance Company performing original roles in faculty and undergraduate works by McCree O’Kelley, Daniel Gwirtzman, Ivan Pulinkala, James Graham, Sean Nguyen-Hilton, and many others.  Bailey has participated in movement research workshops with Batsheva Dance Company, Ate9 Dance Company, and New Dialect. Her ventures have allowed her to work professionally with Rachel Truitt, Lonnie Davis, Otis Sallid, Andrea Knowlton, Nicole Johnson, Nathan Griswold, Ido Gidron, Kelvin Yu, Banning Bouldin, and Navarra Novy-Williams. Other credits include ImmerseATL and the Mediums Collective.  Bailey joined staibdance in June of 2019.

Bailey Harbaugh graduated as the Outstanding Senior from the Department of Dance at Kennesaw State University with Magna Cum Laude honors in the Spring of 2019. It was here she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree and spent 8 consecutive semesters with the KSU Dance Company performing original roles in faculty and undergraduate works by McCree O’Kelley, Daniel Gwirtzman, Ivan Pulinkala, James Graham, Sean Nguyen-Hilton, and many others.

Bailey has participated in movement research workshops with Batsheva Dance Company, Ate9 Dance Company, and New Dialect. Her ventures have allowed her to work professionally with Rachel Truitt, Lonnie Davis, Otis Sallid, Andrea Knowlton, Nicole Johnson, Nathan Griswold, Ido Gidron, Kelvin Yu, Banning Bouldin, and Navarra Novy-Williams. Other credits include ImmerseATL and the Mediums Collective.

Bailey joined staibdance in June of 2019.



Catherine Messina,  a graduate of Emory University, has been dancing for over 20 years. A scholarship recipient, she has studied at the Bates Dance Festival in Maine, staibdance Summer Intensive in Italy, and Bates Winter Intensive in New York. As an artist, she has worked with choreographers Jessica Bertram, Mark Caserta, Greg Catellier, Jillian Mitchell, and Kristin O'Neil as well as Core Dance and the Immerse ATL program, headed by Sarah Hillmer. Additionally, she has performed at the Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, Femmefest, the American College Dance Association, showing the work of Trisha Brown, and the Women in Leadership in Dance Conference in Philadelphia, her hometown. She also has experience in arts administration, choreography, teaching, and technical production. She currently dances with Atlanta based companies staibdance and Kit Modus. She is grateful to start her first season with staibdance!

Catherine Messina, a graduate of Emory University, has been dancing for over 20 years. A scholarship recipient, she has studied at the Bates Dance Festival in Maine, staibdance Summer Intensive in Italy, and Bates Winter Intensive in New York. As an artist, she has worked with choreographers Jessica Bertram, Mark Caserta, Greg Catellier, Jillian Mitchell, and Kristin O'Neil as well as Core Dance and the Immerse ATL program, headed by Sarah Hillmer. Additionally, she has performed at the Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, Femmefest, the American College Dance Association, showing the work of Trisha Brown, and the Women in Leadership in Dance Conference in Philadelphia, her hometown. She also has experience in arts administration, choreography, teaching, and technical production. She currently dances with Atlanta based companies staibdance and Kit Modus. She is grateful to start her first season with staibdance!

Benjamin Stevenson  is a movement artist from rural Alabama. They attended Emory University, where they received their B.A in Political Science and Arabic. In addition to their primary studies they maintained an active presence in both the Dance and Creative Writing programs. Here, they began their training in Ballet and Modern technique at the ripe age of eighteen. Upon graduating with their bachelors degree, they began cultivating their writing into movement and choreography as a means of facilitating insightful dialogue on topics such like identity politics, multiculturalism, mental health, and relationships. Benjamin enjoys using text as an impetus for their personal movement practice. Moreover, navigating their identity as a non-binary person of color is an important component in the development of their artistry. This self-navigation process is something they encourage their audience to do when experiencing their work. Currently, Benjamin resides in Atlanta, Georgia where they are rehearsing with Staibdance, Kit Modus, and Okwae Miller. Their writing has been published in Wussy Magazine, Floromancy, Adolescent Content, Emory University’s queer literary magazine Mr. Ma’am., and Middle Eastern literary magazine Khabar Keslan. Benjamin has also worked with other notable artists such as Anicka Austin, Bella Dorado, Greg Catellier, Jillian Mitchell, Kathleen Wessel, Noelle Kayser, and Okwae Miller.

Benjamin Stevenson is a movement artist from rural Alabama. They attended Emory University, where they received their B.A in Political Science and Arabic. In addition to their primary studies they maintained an active presence in both the Dance and Creative Writing programs. Here, they began their training in Ballet and Modern technique at the ripe age of eighteen. Upon graduating with their bachelors degree, they began cultivating their writing into movement and choreography as a means of facilitating insightful dialogue on topics such like identity politics, multiculturalism, mental health, and relationships. Benjamin enjoys using text as an impetus for their personal movement practice. Moreover, navigating their identity as a non-binary person of color is an important component in the development of their artistry. This self-navigation process is something they encourage their audience to do when experiencing their work. Currently, Benjamin resides in Atlanta, Georgia where they are rehearsing with Staibdance, Kit Modus, and Okwae Miller. Their writing has been published in Wussy Magazine, Floromancy, Adolescent Content, Emory University’s queer literary magazine Mr. Ma’am., and Middle Eastern literary magazine Khabar Keslan. Benjamin has also worked with other notable artists such as Anicka Austin, Bella Dorado, Greg Catellier, Jillian Mitchell, Kathleen Wessel, Noelle Kayser, and Okwae Miller.