Tara Zaffuto Mullins is the director of the NC State Dance Program, after serving for four years as the assistant director. She directed the Panoramic Dance Project for five years and currently directs the State Dance Company. Tara also choreographs original works for both NC State dance companies, teaches dance courses and Master Class Series as well as creates interdisciplinary projects. She has been nominated twice for a Chancellor’s Creating Community Award and served on the University Diversity Advisory Committee.
Tara’s recent works include choreographing Dancing Chemical Reactions (2017), an original choreographic piece based on SN1 and SN2 chemical reactions, and Operation Breadbasket (2013), a mixed media modern dance honoring the civil rights movement, which was featured on WUNC’s The State of Things. Dancing Chemical Reactions was created in collaboration with organic chemistry professor Maria Gallardo-Williams in the College of Sciences. The piece premiered at the 2017 State of Sciences at the Hunt Library and represented NC State at the first-ever “ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Tara recently co-authored “STEM Majors, Art Thinkers – Issues of Duality, Rigor and Inclusion” (2017) with lead authors Dr. Fay Payton and Dr. Ashley Walls White in the Poole College of Management, which was published in the fall edition of the Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research.
Tara has recently completed two films, Gull and Above the Trees, with renowned filmmaker Doug Kass. Gull has been chosen for multiple film festivals, including the Miami Independent Film Festival, The International Film Festival Oranjemund (South Africa), and the Free Spirit Film Festival (India).
Tara has been a guest artist at Radford University, James Madison University, East Central University, Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Latin Ballet of Virginia and Dance Arizona Repertory Theatre, among other institutions and companies. In the past, Tara has taught at Henrico Center for the Arts, Arizona State University, Mesa Community College, St. Catherine’s School and the University of Virginia, and was most recently on faculty at the Academy of Arts and Minds in Miami, Florida.
After serving as the educational programs director for the Latin Ballet of Virginia, Tara developed the education- and service-based Z Mullins Dance Company. The company has founded and facilitated such events as the Virginia Dance Symposium, which brings together high school dancers and professors from dance programs, and the Summer Dance Intensive, a ten-day program for high school and college dancers. She also planned and directed many community projects, such as Fitness, Food and FUN, a nutrition and fitness program for fifth grade girls, and the Big Gig, a free youth arts festival in Miami.
Tara has a bachelor’s degree in dance from James Madison University and a master’s in dance from Arizona State University, where she received the Faculty Women’s Association Distinguished Master Degree Candidate Award for her work developing arts programs for homeless youth, as well as the inaugural Herberger College of Fine Arts Fellowship.