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
Laura Macken Posavitz, Secretary
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.
Laura Macken, Secretary
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.
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.
Non profit sector, arts management
Emma Morgan has worked in the non-profit sector for 13 years. She has a background specialising in fundraising development and organisational strategy. She is business analyst for Pobal, formerly the vice-chair and development board member for Helium Arts, and currently board member with the National Youth Orchestra, career mentor with For Purpose and private consultant and public speaker for strategic development in the non-profit sector.
She holds an MA from University College Dublin in Cultural Policy and Arts Management, the focus of which was how charitable organisations use arts-based programmes and products as part of their fundraising mix. In her spare time, she is a painter and, in the past, has participated in community art projects and had illustrations published for a small not profit publication entitled “what not to say”. She has a passion for dance and has participated in a range of classes and genres over the years including swing, ballroom, Irish and ballet amongst other styles.
Emma was co-opted to the board at the AGM in Sep 2022.
Favour Odusola is a Nigerian-Irish multidisciplinary artist based in Dublin Ireland.
He has worked across several contexts from traditional dance & percussion to commercial work and contemporary theatre for over 15 years in Europe, Africa, and UAE.
Favour was elected to the Board in September 2022.
Heather’s passion for the performing, visual, and written arts has inspired her more than two-decade tenure as an arts administrator with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the largest museum in the United States and one of the most-respected and -visited museums in the world.
A mathematician and lawyer, she presently serves as the Deputy Chief Development Officer for Campaign and Stewardship at The Met and is a key member of the Development team that raises hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the museum.
She graduated from Fordham University (B.A., with Honors, in Mathematics) and the Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D., cum laude) and was admitted to the Bars of New Jersey and New York in 1997. She has pursued graduate studies with the Applied Mathematics Program at Hunter College of The City University of New York and was a participant in the 2021 Executive Development Program of Columbia Business School and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A first-generation American, she is the daughter of parents who were born and raised in Donegal, Ireland. Her mother passed onto Heather a love of the arts, particularly the recitation of poetry, and interests in cultures from around the world. An ardent balletomane since she was nine years old, Heather was a principal dancer for several years with a pre-professional ballet company in New Jersey, performing such roles as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. She has studied numerous other dance genres, including Irish dancing, raqs sharqi, and Delsarte.
Heather is excited to bring her love of dance home to Ireland to further Dance Ireland’s work and mission.
She was co-opted onto the board in August 2022
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. www.kristynfontanella.com
Kristyn was elected to the board at AGM in September 2021.
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.
Marion Ryan is the General Manager for Intel Shannon and also leads a global Program Management Office for one of the Networking business groups in Intel.
Over her 15-year career in Intel, she has established and grown a strong Program Management organizations which have become recognized for providing significant business value to the groups which its support. Throughout her thirty years of Industry experience in the Healthcare, Finance & Telecommunications sectors, Marion has placed a strong focus on developing her people, managerial & leadership skills through various Management roles she has held. She is a strong advocate for Diversity & Inclusion and for Leadership Development and she plays an active role across Intel in driving key initiatives and programs that enable people to achieve their next level of potential.
Outside of work, Marion has a keen interest in Irish Music & Irish Dance. Prior to pursuing her Computer Science career path, she achieved a B.Mus. in Classical music followed by a Masters in Irish traditional Music from UCC. She also holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors.
Marion was co-opted to the board in Sep 2022.
Within his professional practice Rob Heaslip works internationally as a choreographer, dancer, movement director and teacher. He creates his own ensemble work as well as collaborative works, spanning dance theatre, live performance, installation, dance-on-screen, T.V. & Film.
Rob began his career with the National Folk Theatre of Ireland, training at both the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at The University of Limerick.
As an artist he is interested in how he can re-imagine human rituals for the viewer of today; asking how can the performing body be a vessel for intertwining dance, voice and design? His style combines movement and theatricality with mythos, neon lights, synth music and contemporary aesthetics to portray stories about people, how they think, move and act amongst each other.
Rob’s work has been presented in Ireland, U.K., U.S.A., Sweden, Spain, Germany and China, with highlights including The Made In Scotland Showcase at Edinburgh Fringe, Dublin Dance Festival, AGITART, and Dance International Glasgow.
Rob was elected to the board at AGM in September 2022.