UK Dance Showcase Talks Programme

The talks programme at the UK Dance Showcase has been carefully curated based on key issues identified during the Intensives Surf The Wave have been holding all over the country. 

Talk 1: How to let your love of dance guide you through the Showcase.
Led by Peggy Olislaegers

We are all audience members, enjoying dance from our specific point of view. So let us talk about dance and its qualities! What kind of works and artists would you like to discover during this showcase? How would you like to be surprised? In this workshop we explore the different contexts of you and your colleagues. We are looking forward to welcoming a diverse mix of programmers, from the ones new to dance to the ones hungry for new questions and input. Let us discuss the art of programming!  

As one of the leading independent dance professionals in Europe, Peggy Olislaegers provides artistic and strategic advice for both festivals and dance companies, working with dance programmers and independent choreographers as well. She is an Associate on Research and Development for Dutch National Ballet and Artistic Associate of Rambert. She works with GenderBender festival (Italy), festival The Boulevard (Netherlands), and choreographers Nanine Linning (Germany), Alessandro Sciarroni (Italy), Tony Adigun (UK) and Alida Dors (Netherlands) among others. She co-initiated the European projects Act Your Age, Performing Gender and Pivot Dance.

From 2010 to 2016 Peggy Olislaegers was the Artistic and General Director of the Dutch Dance Festival/de Nederlandse Dansdagen. Under her leadership the festival grew its impact, with prize-winning and innovative projects, and a growth of the festival audience.

Working in the field of ballet, contemporary dance and hiphop, Peggy Olislaegers is known for her ability to connect disciplines, and her articulate knowledge of dance and movement, from the choreographer, performer and audience point of view. Peggy has broad experience working both as a performer and creator in dance, theatre and music productions. From 1989 to 2006 she created more than 35 choreographies, both independently and in co-production with companies and festivals. From 2007 to 2011, she was the first resident dance dramaturge for Dansateliers Rotterdam (NL), pioneering the practice of dance dramaturgy in Europe. Her work has been described in various publications.


Talk 2: UK Still open for business: Building international partnerships

At a time when the UK is debating its relationship to international partnerships and alliances, how is dance forging ahead in developing the vital partnerships and international markets to support and nurture the artist and the art form? Join the panel in exploring a positive perspective on the future of international partnerships.

Paul Russ (Chair) - Dance4
Emma Gladstone - Dance Umbrella
Pawlet Brookes - Serendipity UK 
Anand Bhatt - Leicester Dance Theatre / Aakash Odedra Company
Freddie Opoku-Addaie - Independent artist, curator and Uk Dance Showcase panel member
John Ashford - Director - Aerowaves 


Talk 3: Marketing: A joint venture

Over the past 18 months, Surf The Wave has hosted conversations between venue, festival, gallery and community representatives and artists and producers working in dance across the UK. There were many common questions and issues raised around marketing and communications for dance. This discussion will surface some of these and provide a space to articulate a way forward – exploring how artists and programmers could work together to build dance audiences and communities.

Chaired by Sheila Creevey, Surf The Wave Project Director


Talk 4: Audience Engagement: Making communities from your audiences and audiences from your communities
Led by Mel Larsen

Engagement Success -  your audience is your team

Looking for new ways to engage a diverse range of audiences? Feeling bewildered by the sheer amount of information and advice out there? Engaging audiences can be exciting, challenging, ground-breaking and hugely rewarding but many programmers often don't have enough time to even think about trying out new approaches. This inspiring, informative and enjoyable interactive session gives you space to pause and consider what approach might work best for you.  

Mel’s 30 year career includes working with pioneering touring companies Black Mime Theatre, Talawa Theatre Company and consulting firm A.R.T.S. As an in-demand independent audience development consultant, her clients have included Arts Council England, Australian Arts Council, The British Council and The Arts Marketing Association. Her work has taken her around globe including, Russia, South Africa, the Caribbean, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. She is also a successful small Business Coach and author of ‘A Guide to working with Arts Ambassadors’ for Arts Council England and co-author of ‘Open Up: museums for everyone’ for The Museums Association and partners


Talk 5: Shrink to Fit: Scalability and Adaptability
Panel discussion chaired by Eddie Nixon

Chaired by The Place’s Artistic Director Eddie Nixon, this panel discussion brings together artists, producers and programmers to explore:

  • What are the possibilities and challenges of creating or adapting dance for smaller scale or rural contexts? 

  • What are the key differences the Rural Touring Dance Initiative is making to artists, audiences and venues?

  • How might we develop new funding support for rural touring models?

Panelists include: Ben Duke (Artistic Director, Lost Dog), Carrie Whittaker (Co-Founder, Lîla Dance), Claire Marshall (Project Manager, Carn to Cove, Cornwall) Claire Smith (Project Manager, RTDI), Ginnie Wollaston (Independent Producer working with Shane Shambhu and Subhash Viman), Ian Scott (Former Executive Director, Artsreach, Dorset).

A chance to share knowledge, raise questions and consider creative solutions.


Talk 6: Building audiences around Children’s and Family work

Chaired by Cath James, Artistic Director of South East Dance, this talk will be an opportunity for artists and programmers to share knowledge and experience in building audiences for dance for children and families. Drawing from examples of practice across a variety of settings, the panel will offer provocations, share stories and ask questions of each other, and the audience, towards building a better understanding of the opportunities to connect and create a new generation of communities for dance. The panel will include artists, producers and programmers who have invested in building audiences for Children's and Family dance work.