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.
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.
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