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Home » News » FSU Dance students prepare for ‘amazing opportunity’ in Opening Nights event

FSU Dance students prepare for ‘amazing opportunity’ in Opening Nights event

Published September 9, 2022


Dance students practice in a large room.

Students work with George Staib in a masterclass. Photo by Saman Hajimohammad.

Three Florida State University School of Dance students have been selected to perform with staibdance, a nationally recognized contemporary dance company known for combining intense physical-movement vocabulary with traditional Iranian dance.

April is dancing against a black bagkground

April Chinea, 4th year BFA student, selected to work with staibdance. Photo by Meagan Helman

April Chinea, Elise St. Cyr and Marielle Richardson will join staibdance members to perform “fence” on Sept. 2122 at the Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theatre. 

“We are incredibly excited to team up with Opening Nights,” said Anjali Austin, chair of the School of Dance. “This collaboration affords our students an amazing opportunity to learn from and work beside the staibdance dancers. It is an exceptional credit our students can add to their resumes. Everyone at the School of Dance is looking forward to sharing this experience with the FSU and Tallahassee communities.”

“Fence” is staibdance’s most socially driven work to date, founded upon dramatic, life-changing events that George Staib, artistic director for staibdance, encountered as a child in Iran. The work gives shape to the conversation around what takes your power and what gives you power and explores personal and global unrest.

“Our performances and classes ask participants to lose themselves and find themselves through evocative imagery both on the stage and in the studio classroom,” Staib said. “We meet head-on, the joys, challenges, curiosities and beauty that contribute to our dynamic, universal experience — that which make us human — to ignite conversation and re-reveal the sublime and transformative effects of truthful human interaction.”

The performance, a collaboration of the School of Dance and Opening Nights at FSU, will offer the Tallahassee community a unique opportunity to work with the renowned Atlanta-based dance company.

“This highly anticipated performance by staibdance represents our ongoing commitment to collaborate on campus and to provide unparalleled educational experiences for students,” said Jennifer Wright-Allen, director of Opening Nights at FSU. “We are excited to welcome this culturally rich dance performance to Tallahassee.”

Staibdance is also engaging in several academic and community-focused events leading up to the performance, including master classes for middle school, high school and School of Dance students, plus several panel discussions and demonstrations.

Richardson poses in a black dress, wearing a pearl necklace.

Marielle Richardson, 1st year MFA, selected to work with staibdance. Photo by Mark Andrew Broughton.

“A unique experience like this doesn’t come around often,” said Richardson, who is pursuing an MFA in dance. “The chance to dance alongside these company members is a great honor, and I’m looking forward to sharing a stage with them. I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

“Fence” was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This performance is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the Mellon Foundation.

Tickets are $10 for FSU students and $25 for general admission. FSU faculty and staff receive a $5 discount.

Learn more about Opening Nights and see a full list of this season’s events at

For more information about the School of Dance and its programs, visit