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.

Directors encompass a wide variety of key skills in artistic programming, choreography, dance, legal affairs, marketing and project management. 

Dance Ireland Board of Directors:

John Malone, Chairperson
Richard Johnson, Deputy Chairperson
Joseph O’Hanlon, Secretary
Aoife Courtney
Laura Murphy
Dr. Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain
Laura Macken Posavitz
Richard Wakely
Maria Nilsson Waller

Directors are elected from the membership at AGM and also co-opted. All co-opted positions are endorsed at AGM. Directors are appointed to serve an initial 2-year term (renewable), up to a maximum of 6 years. The board meets quarterly, in addition to AGM and other meetings as required.

The board is mindful of its responsibilities to ensure that the correct skill set is in place, and is committed to recruiting as follows: four places will be filled through co-option and five places filled through membership election. The board maintains its commitment to ensuring gender, geographical spread and genre representation at all times.

The board’s functions are safeguarding the organisation’s principles, ensuring financial health and maintaining good governance. To further support its work, the board operates three sub-committees:

• Finance Committee Chairperson John Malone
• Governance Committee Chairperson Joseph O’Hanlon
• Fundraising Committee Chairperson Aoife Courtney.

The board is committed to regular reviews, and has developed the Dance Ireland Governance Framework, a suite of documents, setting out the policies and procedures, systems and procedures and policies informing how it conducts its business, and how we comply with the standards set out in the Principles of Good Governance, Fundraising The responsibility for Dance Ireland is vested in the board of directors, with management delegated to the Chief Executive and executive team


John Malone

Chartered Accountant

John 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 and currently serves as Finance Committee Chairperson. John was appointed Chairperson in May 2017.

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). Richard is a board member of Irish National Youth Ballet. Richard was co-opted to the board in October 2010. He was appointed Deputy Chairperson in 2013.

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 (UK) 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. He was appointed Company Secretary in 2015.


Aoife Courtney

Theatre director, Choreographer, Dramaturg

Aoife is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music and Drama at D.I.T., where she received a BA in Drama (Performance) and holds an MPhil in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship from Trinity College Dublin. 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 is a member of Theatre Forum and IETM. Aoife was elected to the board at AGM in April 2015. She is Fundraising Committee Chairperson.

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

Laura Murphy

Performer, Teacher, Choreographer

Laura Murphy works internationally as a choreographer, performer and teacher. Her work spans large scale community dance, site specific professional ensembles, video installations and live staged works. Laura's choreographic work has been shown in New York, Canada, Sweden, Romania, Iceland, China, UK and Latvia; and at festivals including Biennale de Lyon, Reykjavik Dance Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Dublin Dance Festival and Cork Midsummer Festival. Laura is the recipient of a range of awards; E-MOTIONAL Bodies and Cities, a European mobility and exchange programme (2012-2013); Carte Blanche as part of modul-dance (2013); Arts Council Bursary Award (2016) and Artist Project Awards from Cork City Council (2013, 2014 and 2016). Laura has worked as a dancer with choreographers and artists including Daria Fain, Nigel Rolfe and Mary Nunan performing internationally at venues including the Biennale de Lyon (FR), Judson Church (US) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest (RO). Laura graduated from the University of Limerick in 2005 with an MA in Contemporary Dance Performance; from Trinity Laban, London in 2006 with a P.D.D.S. and in 2014 with a Specialist Diploma in Choreological Studies. She held the position of Acting Course Director, MA in Contemporary Dance Performance, at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick in 2015. She has been Cork's Dancer in Residence based at the Firkin Crane since 2012.

Laura was elected to the board at AGM in April 2017.

Dr. Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain

Traditional Dance Artist, Lecturer, Writer

Orfhlaith lectures on the BA in Irish Music and Dance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick. In 2010 Orfhlaith completed her doctoral thesis at the University of Limerick. Her research interests include, Irish Dance among the Diaspora and examining creative processes in the context of Competitive Irish Solo Step Dance. She is a registered Irish Dance teacher T.C.R.G. and adjudicator A.D.C.R.G. with An Coimisiún le Rinci Gaelacha. She has travelled extensively to workshops and Step Dance Competitions throughout Europe and North America as a tutor from the renowned Scoil Rince Uí Ruairc and dance accompanist. She completed a residency at Williams College MA where she was employed as guest artist in dance. Orfhlaith is a former Co-Director of Blas International Summer School of Traditional Irish Music and Dance held at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and is Dance Co-ordinator on the BA programme. She is currently chairperson of ICTM Ireland. She has authored a book entitled The Terminology of Irish Dance (date/publisher?). Orfhlaith was co-opted to the board in April 2017.

Laura Macken Posavitz

Teacher, Choreographer

Laura trained at The Irish National College of Dance and joined Dublin City Ballet as a student member at the age of 15. Throughout several years Laura danced corps de ballet and solo roles in many of their ballets, contemporary and jazz works and DGOS productions. Following DCB’s closure, Laura became a founder member of Irish Modern Dance Theatre. She worked with Dance Theatre of Ireland, CoisCéim Dance Theatre (touring Ireland and the UK), Co-Motion Theatre, and many musical theatre productions in the Gaiety, Tivoli, and Olympia Theatres. Further theatre credits include The Secret Fall of Constant Wilde, at The Abbey Theatre, The Barbican Centre in London, and the Melbourne Theatre Festival, and The Dead, also at the Abbey Theatre. Laura danced in many film and television productions, performed on several cruise lines and has worked extensively in America as a dancer and choreographer. Currently, Laura teaches for Dance Ireland’s professional programme, College of Dance, and is a teacher and rehearsal director for Irish Modern Dance Theatre and CoisCéim Dance Theatre. Laura was Assistant Choreographer for RTE’s Centenary at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. She has choreographed for Pan Pan Theatre and performed in Laochra at Croke Park. In January 2017 Laura graduated from the University of Limerick, completing her MA in Dance, receiving first class honours on her thesis examining the versatile dancer.

Laura was elected to the board at AGM in April 2017.


Richard Wakely

Artistic Director

Richard is the Artistic Director of the Belfast International Arts Festival, Ireland’s leading annual festival event of contemporary arts and ideas. Prior to taking up this post in 2013, he was a freelance producer and arts management consultant and produced for and represented several dance ensembles and independent artists including Claire Cunningham (Scotland), Sol PIcó (Spain), Junk Ensemble, Fearghus Ó Conchúir, Ríonach Ní Néill and Nick Bryson and Damian Punch. He also founded and co-curated an annual season of new contemporary dance from Ireland at Dance Base as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Previous posts include Commissioner for the China–Ireland Cultural Exchange Programme for the Irish Government; Managing Director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and General Manager of Hampstead Theatre, London. Between these latter two theatres he transferred, produced and co-produced 18 productions into London’s West End including Dolly West’s Kitchen by Frank McGuinness, Burn This by Lanford Wilson (with John Malkovich), Dead Funny by Terry Johnson and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness (also Broadway, New York).

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

Maria Nilsson Waller

Choreographer, Performer

Maria trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School and Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD). A freelance dancer and choreographer working across Europe since 2004; Maria is based in Dublin since 2009. As a performer she has danced works by Liv O’Donoghue (IRE), Bo Arenander, Per Jonsson, Helena Franzén (SE), Susan Rethorst (NY), Hervé Koubi, Myriam Naisy (FR) and Fiona Quilligan (IRE). Maria 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 for Dance Ireland, Galway Dance Project, Dance Limerick and 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). Maria is a member of Jämtlands Kulturkompani and is a Dance Ireland Associate Artist.

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



Dance Ireland Board of Directors from 1992 to present.