Choreographer George Staib is artistic director of staibdance, founder of the (MC)² multicultural dance festival and a professor of practice at Emory University. In 2020 he was named one of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta, and he occasionally writes about dance for ArtsATL. (Photo by Lisa Labbé)
Lately I’ve been questioning what really matters and assessing where value lies. Producing something for digital consumption, our staibdance podcast for instance, you don’t have any way of receiving feedback or understanding the impact. It’s like living in the space station — you throw something out and have no idea where it’s going to go. And then there’s the state of our political and social climate, asking us to be fully on one side or another. The grey area or any shreds of critical thinking are no longer part of the process. It’s exhausting. I have had trouble making any kind of decision from buying bed sheets to choosing a restaurant.
I don’t get bored very easily and I can be happy just sitting and staring blankly at a wall, but loneliness is definitely a thing. I tend toward sorrow and depression, but I can’t be legitimately upset because I am in the same boat as everyone else. At the heart of the lockdown, I remember thinking nature was clearer, the birds were more eloquent than usual and during all of this my father became ill and passed away, so that was an adjustment. A year before the lockdown my mother passed away. My sister and I are feeling rather untethered.
I am finding so much more strength internally than I was ever aware of. We have started back at Emory, with full capacity in our classes, but still with suffocating masks. We [staibdance] are going to Philadelphia and Alabama with fence and our new piece starts in January. We did some on-camera interviews with the artists who participated in the multicultural dance festival, which made me weepy and teary eyed. I felt enormously privileged to hear about their art and their history, and I am excited about turning them into something for the public. They are staggeringly beautiful.