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:

Dr. Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain, Chairperson
Colm Ryan, Secretary
Kristyn Fontanella
Mihaela Griveva
Laura Murphy
Laura Macken 
Aoife Newton

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 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. The responsibility for Dance Ireland is vested in the board of directors, with management delegated to the Chief Executive and executive team

Dr. Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain, Chairperson

Traditional Dance Artist, Lecturer, Writer

Orfhlaith is an ethnochoreologist and Course Director of the MA in Irish Traditional Dance Performance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, where she teaches Irish dance skills, Irish music and dance studies, Western Art Dance History, Music and Dance education and ethnochoreology to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

As an accomplished performer and teacher of Irish music song and dance, and artistic director of Scoil Ui Ruairc, she delivers workshops and seminars internationally and is a recognized expert in the Irish traditional music and dance world featuring in many broadcasts and documentaries on radio and television as cultural commentator.

Her book The Terminology of Irish Dance was published in 2008 by Macater Press and in 2013 she was commissioned by Dance Ireland to write Contemporary Irish Dance Choreography: T is for Tradition, Trophy, Theatre and Time to dance. Her current research involves collaborative work with physiotherapists Amanda Clifford and Joanne Shanahan to investigate the feasibility of set dancing for people with Parkinsons, and with designer and illustrator Michael Mc Cabe with whom she has co- authored an illustrated history of Irish set dance tunes.

Orfhlaith was co-opted onto the board in April 2017.

Colm Ryan,Secretary


Colm returned to Dublin in 2010 after 17-years working in leadership roles at Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Scotland. He studied accounting before recently obtaining his LLB from Griffith College.  Colm currently manages the fixed income business at Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin.

He is a keen advocate of the arts and is eager to contribute to the ongoing success of Dance Ireland.

Colm was co-opted on to the board in June 2019.

Kristyn Fontanella

Choreographer, Director, Producer

As a choreographer/dance artist Kristyn Fontanella focuses her past knowledge of Irish step dancing and presents it in a contemporary context.
Having toured for many years with Riverdance, Lord of the Dance & as lead soloist in Gaelforce Dance, her current mission is to show another side of the complex world of Irish Step dancing to future generations.

Kristyn's duet with Sibéal Davitt, 'As We Know It' was an early success, showing in NYC, Dublin Dance Festival, Marseille New Danse Festival, & Tanzmesse Germany. Her ensemble work, IN LiMBO, which has had continued support from the Arts Council, recently completed its seven venue Irish National Tour in February 2020, and has future international touring opportunities.

For Galway 2020 Kristyn was involved in two projects; Plurabella, a solo dance film commissioned by Ríonach Ní Néill (Hope it Rains) and a site-specific dance piece with Dansnest (NL) through Galway Dance Project.
Her most recent show is a new traditional dance comedy 'The Competition... an interactive feis' which premier in 2021 to great success online and will continue to be performed as a hybrid format.

Alongside her choreography, Kristyn has developed her skills as a producer for fellow dance artists. She believes working along like-minded individuals to present and share their work will widen the market for dance in Ireland.

Kristyn was elected to the board at AGM in September 2021. 

Mihaela Griveva

Choreographer, Teacher, Founder

Mihaela Griveva is a choreographer, dancer, teacher and entrepreneur. She holds an MA in Contemporary Dance Performance from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. As a freelance artist based in Ireland, she continues to work and study extensively in Europe and Asia.

Mihaela’s passion for teaching and assisting dancers reach their full potential inspired her to develop the Beyond Technique Workshop: study and mentorship tailored to the individual needs of professional dancers. Her desire to find new ways to make dance accessible to all led her to create The Joy Of Dance, an introduction to dance for the uninitiated and more timid.

Mihaela is also founder and editor of In its sixth year now Dancing Opportunities is an evolving project promoting dance, and creating a resource and network for dance artists. With over 90,000+ visits to the platform each month, it gives her a lot of satisfaction to be of service to other dancers while developing her own career.

Mihaela was elected to the board at AGM in April 2018. 

Laura Macken 

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.

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.

Aoife Newton


Head of Corporate Immigration and Employment Law with KPMG Ireland, Aoife is a graduate of UCD and prior to joining KPMG, she trained and worked in William Fry Solicitors and the employers’ representative body Ibec. Aoife has a particular interest in employment equality and is leading Gender Pay Gap Legal Services in KPMG Ireland. Aoife is involved in the 30% Club in Ireland and other diversity initiatives.

Aoife has been involved in dance since she was six years old and hopes to blend her professional experience with her love of dance to enhance the work of Dance Ireland.

Aoife was co-opted on to the board in June 2019. 

Dance Ireland Board of Directors from 1992 to present.