Faculty

ADF is fortunate to have some of the most dedicated faculty in the country on its roster.  These individuals form a group of generous, inspired, and accomplished dance artists that are the foundation of the ADF community. They serve as guides and mentors, inspiring students to attain new levels of artistry and physicality. After a summer spent working side by side in the studio, seeing performances together, and dialoguing with one another, students and teachers often forge relationships that last long after the festival is over. We invite you to read about each of our faculty below.

As part of the Dance Professional Workshops, participants also take classes in the Summer Dance Intensive. Check out our Summer Dance Intensive faculty here!

2020 faculty

MICHELLE BOULÉ

Michelle Boulé is a dance artist and teacher who was based in New York for 20+ years and is currently living nomadically. Her research in energy work, somatic practices, spirituality, and mindset/psychology provides the framework from which she dances, teaches, and makes dances, with a desire to create aesthetically enlivened experiences that remind us of the potential of what and who we are. She is a “Bessie” Award winning performer, having collaborated with Miguel Gutierrez (2001-16), Bebe Miller, John Jasperse, and Deborah Hay (Ten, If I Sing To You), amongst others. Boulé has received commissions and presentations from The Chocolate Factory, Danspace Project, Triple Canopy, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Summer Stages Dance @ICA Boston, River to River Festival, American Realness, The Met Breuer (with Okkyung Lee), and ISSUE Project Room. Recent awards include: Distinguished Legacy Award from the University of Illinois, NY Foundation for the Arts Choreography Fellowship, Boekelheide Creativity Award, Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant, and residencies from LMCC’s Extended Life Dance Development Program, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, MacDowell, Yaddo, Bemis Center, Movement Research, and Dance Ireland. She teaches internationally and has maintained a private coaching/healing practice since 2008. michelleboule.com

Photo credit: Jim Coleman

Gerri Houlihan

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 and is now Professor Emerita. Currently, she teaches at the ADF studios in Durham and is the Artistic Director of the Big Red Dance Project.

Dr. s. Ama wray

For over 30 years Wray has been performing, teaching and choreographing across 3 continents. With London Contemporary Dance Theater and Rambert Dance Company she toured Russia, China, USA and across Europe. As the Artistic Director of JazzXchange Music and Dance Company she was Artist-in-Residence at The Royal Opera House and Southbank Center, UK. Wray now also pursues ethnographic research and the Comparative and International Education Society presented her with the 2018 African Diaspora Emerging Scholar Award. Her current work encompasses knowledge embedded within African and diasporic performance practices.  After completing her PhD at the University of Surrey in 2017, Wray developed Embodiology®a culturally inclusive approach to improvisation. She has published work in British Dance, Black Routes (2016) and The Oxford Handbook of Improvisation (2019). The methodology has also been utilized in an integrative medical setting with Nimishia Parekh, MD, working with her IBD patientsDisseminating the praxis internationally has included Temple University where she gave the 2017 keynote for the International Dance Studies Colloquium. and in 2018, she was Artist-in-Residence at: University of Wisconsin-Madison; Atlantic Center of the Arts, Florida and New Waves! Institute, Trinidad and Tobago. In California, through JazzXchange, Wray brings jazz dance and music back into closer alignment, as it was at its inception. Collaborators have included include Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Julian Joseph, OBE, Nicole Mitchell, Mojisola Adebayo, Fleeta Siegel and Kei Akagi. Additionally, in 2017 she co-founded the Africana Institute for Creativity, Recognition and Elevation with Ngugi wa Thiong’o. www.embodiology.com

Photo credit: Irven Lewis


2019 faculty

kira blazek ziaii

Kira Blazek Ziaii is a dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist originally from Houston, TX. She has performed with Hubbard Street 2, Douglas Dunn & Dancers, Christopher Williams, anoukvandijkdc, Pilobolus Creative Services, Phantom Limb Company, and Shen Wei Dance Arts, among others. Her choreography has been presented in New York, Sarasota, Tulsa, Austin, and Los Angeles, as well as featured in music videos for Beach House and De Lux. Kira holds a BFA from Oklahoma University and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. She has been a certified Countertechnique teacher since 2012 and is on faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Other teaching engagements have included Gibney Dance Center, Princeton University, California State University Long Beach, Hope Stone, Austin TBXS, Oklahoma University, and company classes for BODYTRAFFIC and Diavolo. kirablazek.com

Photo credit: Amanda Vincelli

Gerri Houlihan

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 and is now Professor Emerita. Currently, she teaches at the ADF studios in Durham and is the Artistic Director of the Big Red Dance Project.

Jesse Zaritt

Jesse Zaritt is a Brooklyn, NY based dance artist. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, having previously been the inaugural 2014-2016 Research Fellow in the University’s School of Dance. Jesse has performed his solo work in Taiwan, Uruguay, Russia, Korea, Germany, New York, Japan, Mexico, Israel and throughout the United States. His solo ‘Binding’ is the recipient of three 2010 New York Innovative Theater Awards: Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Solo Performance, and Outstanding Performance Art Production.

In 2017, Jesse presented work in San Diego as a commissioned choreographer and solo performer in the youTurn Arts performance series. Jesse worked collaboratively with choreographer Jumatatu Poe from 2012-2015; their evening length duet was presented by Gibney Dance Center in New York City in October 2015. Their work was also shown at AUX Performance Space (Vox Populi) and Fringe Arts in Philadelphia (PA) and at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (through the sponsorship of Triple Canopy), Dixon Place and New York Live Arts (through the Studio Series Program) in New York City. A duet created in collaboration with choreographer Katie Swords premiered at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City in Late October 2015. Jesse was commissioned by the American Dance Festival to create a duet with choreographer Mark Haim which premiered as part of the 2015 ADF performance season.

From September 2008 through June 2011, Jesse was an artist in residence at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan as part of LABA, a laboratory for new Jewish culture. He was the recipient of a 2006-2007 Dorot Fellowship in Israel which enabled him to study the relationship between political conflict and choreography. Jesse was a performer with the Shen Wei Dance Arts Company (NYC/2001-2006), the Inbal Pinto Dance Company (Tel Aviv/2008), and in the work of Netta Yerushalmy (NYC/2009-2016). Jesse has also performed in the work of Faye Driscoll (NYC/2010-2015) and works as an artistic adviser for her current projects. Jesse currently works in creative dialogue with Sara Shelton Mann.

Jesse has taught at Bard College (NY), the American Dance Festival (NC), Hollins University (VA) and Pomona College (CA), as well as at schools and festivals in Taiwan, Uruguay, Mexico, Japan, Korea, and Russia. Jesse received an MFA in Dance from Hollins University/The American Dance Festival (2008) and a BA from Pomona College (2000). http://www.jessezaritt.com

Photo credit: Olivia Blaisdell