Emory Report
February 9, 2009
Volume 61, Number 19



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February 9
, 2009
Choreographer designs visual landscape

By jessica moore

“Contemporary Dance –Vintage Music: George Staib and the Vega Quartet in Concert,” an evening of new dances to live musical accompaniment of more than two centuries of works, from a Bach suite to classics by Stravinsky and Bartok to contemporary composer Richard Einhorn, runs Feb. 12-14 at 8 p.m. in Emory’s Performing Arts Studio. Tickets ($20 public; $15 Emory faculty/staff; Emory students free) available at 404-727-5050 or www.arts.emory.edu.

The Vega String Quartet, Emory’s quartet-in-residence, and choreographer George Staib produced the performance. Staib, who joined the Emory Dance faculty in 2001, discusses the creation of his “delicious nugget of art.”

Emory Report: What’s unique about this performance?
George Staib: The fact that a dance performance has live music is rare here in Atlanta. The Vega is going to be an integral part of the visual landscape of the evening, an inclusiveness that will tie the music and dance totally together. The dancers are really fascinating to watch and the combination of their talent with the Vega musicians will be a real treat for the audience.

ER: How would you describe your choreographic style?
What I do is pay particular attention to the music: the overall phrasing, the flow, the mood and any underlying tension that might be present. Stylistically I’m in a place where I’m trying to experiment a little more with things that aren’t as comfortable for me. Many people have said my work is marked by moving large groups around the space. Now I’m trying to focus on smaller groups: less flash and more attention on the dancers.

ER: How do you choose your dancers?
I look for commanding stage presence; someone who, just by standing on stage, can intrigue the audience. They have to have a very technical background, be versatile and also musical. There has to be a willingness to play and experiment in the studio as well as help create a sense of community and camaraderie with the other dancers.

ER: What has been challenging about this project? What will you take away?
As far as challenges, scheduling is always a nightmare. I’ve had to coordinate the schedules of 22 dancers, four musicians, rehearsal spaces, tech crews and my life as a teacher, while keeping everything straight in my mind. What I will take away from this project is a fortified addiction to beauty and the satisfaction of knowing that I tried something that scared me. It was a dream-come-true to work with such talented musicians and dancers.