Board of Directors

The board of directors is a non-executive board which oversees the mission of the organisation is carried out and ensures good governance.

The board of directors is a non-executive board. Directors encompass a wide variety of skills in artistic programming, choreography, dance, legal affairs, marketing, performance and project management. Directors are elected from the membership at AGM and periodically co-opted. All co-opted positions are subsequently endorsed at AGM. Directors are appointed to serve an initial 2-year term (renewable) and can serve up to a maximum of 6 consecutive years. The board meets quarterly, in addition to AGM, meetings with the auditor and funders. The board’s functions are overseeing the mission and ensuring good governance. The responsibility for Dance Ireland is vested in the board of directors, but management of Dance Ireland is delegated to the Chief Executive and executive team

Anne Maher

Artistic Director

Anne has over thirty years’ experience in ballet, first as a dancer and later as a director, manager and co-founder of Ballet Ireland. Anne trained in Ireland and at L'acadamie de danse Classique in Monte Carlo on a scholarship from the late Princess Grace of Monaco.

After a successful career as a dancer, dancing all of the major roles in the classical repertoire, Anne retired as a dancer and moved into management, setting up and developing Ballet Ireland into a successful and vibrant touring company. She is responsible for general management at Ballet Ireland, including planning and negotiating national and international touring schedules, funding negotiations with the Arts Council and Government agencies and is on Ballet Ireland's Board of Directors. 

In 2009 Anne established the Irish Ballet Forum, of which she is the chairperson, to bring together the ballet community in Ireland and to help ensure better training for aspiring young dancers in Ireland.

Anne was elected to the board at AGM in April 2008. She was elected Chairperson by the board in autumn 2013.

Richard Johnson

Deputy Chairperson
Marketing Consultant

Richard has over 20 years’ experience working in marketing consultancies and integrated marketing agencies in Dublin. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he spent three years teaching in the north inner city before changing direction to work in marketing and advertising. During his career he has worked across all the marketing disciplines PR, Direct Response Advertising, Sales Promotion and event management. He has developed campaigns for many of the country’s best known brands which have gone on to win local and international awards.

He is a board member and former chairperson of the Association of Promotional Marketing Consultants (APMC) and a director with Pulse Group Ireland. Richard is a board member of Irish National Youth Ballet.

Richard was co-opted to the board in October 2010, and his appointment endorsed at AGM April 2011. He was elected Deputy Chairperson by the board in 2013.  

Michelle Cahill

Community Dance Artist, Teacher, Performer

Michelle trained at the Dorothy Stevens School, Yorkshire in Classical and Modern Dance receiving a Teaching Certificate from the Royal Academy of Dancing. She received an Arts Council bursary and college scholarship to train at the Laban Centre, London graduating with a diploma in Dance Theatre in 1999. She was awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Dance from the University of Limerick in 2011. 

She has been teaching dance and movement studies in further and higher education for over ten years, including University of Limerick, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Marino College FE and Coláiste Dhulaigh CFE. She is an associate member of the Laban Guild teaching on their Dance Leadership courses (Maynooth 2011, Newbridge 2013) and for the bi-annual Maynooth Summer schools in association with Kildare Arts Office since 2007.

Michelle co-facilitated the Macushla Dance Club from 2008-2012. Michelle has facilitated, choreographed and devised dance programmes for several agencies and cultural bodies. As a performer she has worked with Ciotóg, Maylin Productions, purpleHeart theatre company, Catapult Dance Company and RunDanceInitiatives.

Michelle was elected to the board at AGM in April 2013. She was elected Secretary by the board in autumn 2013. 

Aoife Courtney

Theatre director, Choreographer, Dramaturg

Aoife Courtney is a theatre director, choreographer and dramaturg. She is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music and Drama at D.I.T., where she received a BA in Drama (Performance) and is currently completing an MPhil in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship between Trinity College Dublin, and Goldsmiths University of London.

Aoife has a partnership with Deirdre Lennon, called Ready Fire Aim, together they make films, Look, large scale outdoor performances, Flock, Big House Festival, nightclub events, Art Party, Cafe Cairo, Electric Picnic, and commission new plays, Jet Lag Waltz. In September 2014 they premiered The Party a large scale, immersive and transmedia show in partnership with Fizzy Thinking.

Ready Fire Aim also work with young people in variety of contexts, directing for youth theatre, facilitating workshops and have recently been invited by The Office of the Ombudsman for Children to join their panel of facilitators for children and young people.

Aoife has worked as an assistant at some of Dublin's most prestigious arts institutions:   Picasso's Women, Focus Theatre; Bodies in Urban Spaces, Dublin Dance Festival and An Ideal Husband, Gate Theatre.

Aoife is currently collaborating with San Diego based dance artist, Anya Cloud to make a new show Pilgrim for 2015. Their work has been supported by Studio Current, Seattle and Dance Ireland.

Aoife is Dramaturg for Canadian artist Meagan O’Shea, Stand Up Dance, new dance-theatre work, Somatic Structures for Unstable Times.

In parallel to her own art making, Aoife has had an ongoing interest in providing support within art communities for artists to thrive. In 2013 she founded Cultural Freelancers Ireland, a peer to peer resource sharing initiative, working across art forms. They host fortnightly breakfast meetings, where freelance arts workers meet to network, contribute, and speak on a range of curated topics. Aoife has also facilitated a session at IETM performing arts conference on the subject of freelance arts workers.

Aoife is a member of Theatre Forum and IETM.

Aoife was elected to the board at AGM in April 2015.  

John Malone


John Malone is a chartered management accountant, member of the Institute of Directors and a graduate of Trinity College Dublin. He is a former director of Microsoft Ireland, Britvic Ireland and IPOS Investment PLC. He has also been involved with non-profit organisations throughout his career, especially in the healthcare sector. Today he runs his own management consulting practice, which specialises in assisting medium to large companies reach their maximum potential.

He has always had a very special interest in the performing arts having been involved in classical music and dance. He hopes to offer whatever experience and knowledge he can to Dance Ireland in its pursuit of a very exciting future.

John was co-opted on to the board in October 2014. 

Joseph O’Hanlon

Senior Lawyer 

Joseph is a senior lawyer with many years’ experience of working in both the public and private sectors, in Ireland and the UK. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin and London School of Economics and Political Science, Joseph is a senior lawyer with Comreg - Commission for Communications Regulation Dublin.

Previously he has worked with, among others, the Financial Services Authority, Postcomm - the Postal Regulator and the Department for Constitutional Affairs London.

He has a long-standing interest in the arts, and actively supports many cultural institutions, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Tricycle Theatre, London. 

Joseph was co-opted on to the board in January 2014, and his appointment endorsed at AGM May 2014. 

Richard Wakely

Producer and Arts Consultant

Richard is an independent dance and theatre producer and arts management consultant working internationally out of Ireland. He is the Producer for Junk Ensemble and International Associate for Sol Picó Dance Company (Spain). In addition, he co-curates an annual season of new contemporary dance from Ireland at Dance Base as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in association with Culture Ireland.

In 2009, Richard produced the award winning double bill:ME (Mobile/Evolution), for Claire Cunningham (Scotland) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and on tours throughout Europe, the UK and most recently South America. Richard also assists and works with various independent dance artists including Ríonach Ní Néill, (most recently Frame), Nick Bryson and Damian Punch (Hanging in There and The Goldilocks Zone) and Fearghus Ó Conchúir (Open Niche tour).

As an arts management consultant, Richard regularly conducts independent artistic and management reviews and evaluations in both Ireland and the UK. Clients have included Traverse and Lyceum Theatres, Edinburgh; South Dublin County Council; Dublin City Council and recently he completed a 6 year engagement heading up the rebuild of the critically acclaimed new Lyric Theatre in Belfast.

Previous employments include Commissioner for the China–Ireland Cultural Exchange Programme, Managing Director of the Abbey Theatre and General Manager of Hampstead Theatre. Richard is director of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Richard was elected to the board at AGM in April 2012. 

Maria Nilsson Waller

Choreographer, Performer

Maria trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School and Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance. She has been working as a freelance dancer and choreographer across Europe since 2004, and since 2009 is based in Dublin. 

As a performer she has danced in pieces by Liv O’Donoghue (IRE), Bo Arenander, Per Jonsson, Helena Franzén (SE), Susan Rethorst (NY), Hervé Koubi, Myriam Naisy (FR) and Fiona Quilligan (IRE).

Her own work has been presented at a number of venues in France, Sweden and Ireland, through a.o Cannes Jeune Ballet (22nd Century, Med en doft av snö, 2009), Estrad Norr (Ingenmansland, 2011, Last Land, 2012, Stream, 2013) Smock Alley, Druid Lane Theatre and Dublin Dance Festival (Walker, 2011, Last Land 2012, Stream 2013 and Blanca 2015). 

Maria is regularly collaborates with artists from other disciplines, including musicians, composers, filmmakers and photographers and also composes music and designs for her own work. She teaches professional daily training for Dance Ireland, Galway Dance Project, Dance Limerick and is engaged as teacher in Classical Ballet for YPA, Dublin. Together with drummer Magnus Vikberg, she  completed 154 workshops in contemporary dance for primary schools in the north of Sweden between 2012-2015 through Skapande Skola. 

Maria has received commissions from Galway Dance Days (Founder, 2014), Dublin City Council (Journey, 2014) and Estrad Norr (Blanca, 2015). She is currently creating a piece for 35 professional football players plus staff of ÖFK (Östrsunds Fotbolls Klubb, Tier 2, Sweden) which will premiere in October 2015.

Maria is a member of Jämtlands Kulturkompani and was Dance Ireland Associate Artist 2013/2014.

Maria was elected to the board at AGM in April 2015.

Dance Ireland Board of Directors from 1992 to present.