Meet the Submission Panel for the 3rd season of the Wake Forest Dance Festival - Gerri Houlihan, Jonathan Leinbach and Tara Zaffuto Mullins.

We are beyond honored to have such an elite group of dance artists and educators review the submissions for Dance Schools and Emerging Choreographers and select the finalists who will be joining us for the 2019 event.


Gerri Houlihan studied at the Juilliard School with Antony Tudor and members of the Martha Graham and Jose Limon dance companies.  She performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, the Paul Sanasardo Dance Company and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. From 1991-1999 she directed her own company, Houlihan and Dancers, based in Miami, Florida. During that time, she was on the faculty of the New World School of the Arts.  Ms. Houlihan serves on the Advisory Board for the American Dance Festival. She has been on the faculty of the ADF from 1981-1983 and from 1987 to the present. As an international representative for ADF, she has participated in 17 international linkage programs in such countries as Korea, China, Mongolia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Estonia, Poland and Russia.  She is the recipient of the ADF’s Balasaraswati, Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching. She was Co-Dean and then Dean of the ADF School from 2010-2015 and received her MFA from the Hollins/ADF MFA program. She recently retired from Florida State University, where she was the Pearl S. Tyner Distinguished Professor in Teaching. Currently, she teaches at the ADF studios in Durham and at Elon University and is Professor Emerita of Florida State University.

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Jonathan Leinbach graduated from the Juilliard School and danced in New York with Mark Taylor, Colin Connor and the Limon Dance Company for 5 years. He has taught and choreographed for Pomona College, the University of Mississippi and Tulane University. Since changing careers and moving to North Carolina, he has danced and/or performed with Killian Manning, Gerri Houlihan and at Deep Dish Theater, Duke University, UNC and Man Bites Dog Theater. 


Tara Zaffuto Mullins is the director of the NC State Dance Program, choreographs for both academic companies, teaches courses, facilitates the Master Class Series, and creates interdisciplinary projects.  Tara’s works include Dancing Chemical Reactions, based on SN1 and SN2 that was performed for the 2017 ACCelerate Festival at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, and Operation Breadbasket, honoring the civil rights movement. Tara co-authored “STEM Majors, Art Thinkers – Issues of Duality, Rigor and Inclusion” with lead authors Dr. Fay Payton and Dr. Ashley White, which was published in the Journal of STEM Education Innovations and Research. She is a recipient of the 2018 NC State Outstanding Teaching Award. Tara has a BA in dance from JMU and an MFA from Arizona State University.