Originally from Connecticut (USA), Kristyn Fontanella started training in dance from a young age with the Griffith Academy. She was highly successful in both national and international competitive Irish dance circuits. Being trained in an array of dance forms, Kristyn was influenced by many artists and continually pushed the boundaries within the strict format of Irish Step dancing. She has traveled the world with many prestigious dance shows including: Riverdance The Show, Lord of the Dance – Troupe 2, Trinity Irish Dance Company, On Eagle’s Wing, Celtic Crossroads, Beyond the Bog Road w/ Eileen Ivers and as the lead female role in Gaelforce Dance. She has also had the privilege of choreographing solos and duets for Irish Nights, Beyond the Bog Road, and Gaelforce Dance.
In 2013, after attaining her BFA with high honours in Theatre and Dance from Central Connecticut State University, she moved to Ireland to pursue this next chapter in her choreographic journey at the University of Limerick. Here she attained an MA in Contemporary Dance Performance with honours. While studying, her choreography was highlighted at the 20th anniversary of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance’s presentation of Splanc. After finishing her degree, Kristyn performed in A Dance Concerto choreographed Laura Murphy, Cork’s Dancer in Residence at the Firkin Crane, as well as being appointed the assistant manager for the Step Up Dance Project where she worked with choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan. In the fall of 2014 Kristyn was awarded Dance Ireland’s Mentored Residency in Traditional Dance with dance artist and performer Colin Dunne. This resulted in a piece titled As We Know It, which has developed further with dance partner Sibéal Davitt with support from Dance Limerick. As We Know It has been shown as part of Dance Ireland’s symposium of WHO AM I, an exploration of how artistic identity is maintained in a nomadic lifestyle. Most recently Kristyn has finished working with Jean Butler on her new duet with Belfast cellist Neil Martin, this is an Irish dance. This piece premiered in November 2015 at DanSpace in New York City and will also be performed at the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. in May 2016.
Kristyn currently lives in Limerick where she is a dance tutor on the BA and MA programs at the Irish World Academy at UL. She is also a member of Limerick’s first Dance Collective, and involved with the research program of Limerick’s Hip Hop Intervention at St. Gabriel’s School, which brings dance to disabled children in the Limerick area. Kristyn has recently been awarded the 2015 Traditional Arts Bursary from the Arts Council for her current project, IN LIMBO.