Who’s afraid of Peggy Olislaegers?

Peggy Olislaegers

Campaign Dutch Dance Festival 2013 / © Annaleen Louwes & Esther Noyons
Aftertaste luwak steamed luwak as plunger decaffeinated extraction.
Marshall McLuhan / Counterblast (1964) / photo © Matteo De Fina
Thenjiwen Kosi / Gala (Rejoicing, 2023)

Peggy Olislaegers (1966) is a leading consultant in Europe and provides artistic and strategic advice to leaders in the performing arts. She became an established consultant during her directorship of Festival Nederlandse Dansdagen (2010-2016), during which she co-created innovative European projects such as Act Your Age, Performing Gender and Pivot Dance and worked as a consultant in the UK, Italy, Germany, France and Belgium. From 2015 to 2019, Peggy Olislaegers was Artistic Associate at Rambert, Britain's national dance company. Since 2019, she has been Associate on Research and Development at Dutch National Ballet.

Trained at the Fontys Dance Academy, Peggy Olislaegers has experience in almost all aspects of the performing arts, from performer and maker to programmer and general director. In Europe, she is seen as a pioneer in dance dramaturgy. She is known for her broad knowledge and sensitivity to new developments in the performing arts, and advises leaders in hip-hop, modern dance and ballet. She is currently working with choreographer Joseph Toonga (UK), artistic director Alida Dors (Netherlands) and choreographer and festival director Omar Rajeh (Lebanon/France).

In the UK, she was one of the faces of the national project Surf The Wave, in which she trained programmers and festival directors (2018/2019). For many years she was involved in the programme of the Italian festival B-Motion and she supported choreographer Nanine Linning in important steps in her international career in Germany and the USA. In 2020, she helped shape the programme of Beirut International Platform of Dance. In the 2020-2021 season, she assisted the team of Theaterfestival Boulevard (NL) as interim managing director and prepared this organization for the next leadership.

Peggy Olislaegers questions what seems obvious. With her broad knowledge of international developments in the arts and culture sector she identifies and articulates ways of making and working. She has a broad experience in facilitating cultural change in teams and organizations.




Dance activist

Movement is at the heart of my work. In all the work I’m doing.

I’m a dance activist, and I know that activism in society needs many forms.

My activism takes shape in the encounters and relationships I build. Live. Intimate. On edge. In which a conflict can be a sincere investment in the relationship.

I'm a dance activist. My activism is fueled by everything dance has taught me and teaches me. When you dance together, you learn how to share space together. How to create counter-rhythms. How to complement each other. How to fail magnificently. And start over.

This is how I like to be in dialogue.

Yes, I'm a dance activist! My interpretation of this word is constantly evolving, deliberately, as a tool to enhance reflection on my daily practice.

I am learning by doing. My conceptual thinking deepens through doing.

I applaud choices that seem obvious. I question choices that seem obvious.

I embrace the responsibility to questioning assumptions and expectations within myself, within the people I’m working with, and within the wider society I’m living in.

I'm a dance activist.

I invest in the live encounter. The live conversation. The seemingly chaos of improvisation.

To find a rhythm. To find new structures and forms.  




Ambera Wellmann / Elbraw
Markus Schinwald / ANEW3 Cover / © Markus Schinwald
Mous Lamrabat / Coexisting Cultures (2023)
Valentin Fougeray / Balance
Thomas J. Price / Moments Contained / Rotterdam Central Station (2022)
Pixy Liao / From the series Experimental Relationship / © Pixy Liao

Practice of hope

Cornelia Parker / The Brass Band
Barbara Kruger / Skate / site specaific installation / Coleman Skatepark, Manhattan, New York (2017)
© Unkwown
Prue Stent / Body Orbit
© Unkwown
Simone Leigh / Large Jug (2022)

Practice of hope

I believe in art. In the aesthetic emotion that helps us to allow deep sensations. Of happiness. Mourning. Anger. Lust for life. Art helps me to connect with what seems elusive, unreal or unsolvable these days. It offers me a framework through which I can 'be in conversation'. With myself. And with others.

Every day we gain new experiences. Small or drastic and everything in between. Those experiences shape us. Being in the theatre, we can relive them. It helps us to see and feel aspects of our lives anew or differently. That too is a power of art. Things from our past that seemed to be put away become tangible again, even visible. We become aware of our timeline.  Our histories. And make contact with them again. 

I believe in the power and richness of dance.

The artform dance. Dance in its widest definition. With its diverse palette of aesthetics, codes and truths. Dance as a language. Dance and the echo it can have in a human being observing and experiencing it. Dance as a form of communication. Dance as a shared ritual, a collective energy. Dance as a provocation. Dance offering beauty. Dance activating lust for life, or offering a moment of contemplation. Dance and its alternative way of thinking! Dance and its research method.

I believe in the ultimate power of the body moving. I believe in the urgency to move. To move!

As a result I oppose dance-fundamentalism. No dance language or aesthetic is superior to another.  No audience behavior is superior. Dance can touch, move and satisfy people in so many ways.

For as long as we know we express our deepest emotions by moving ourselves, in front of and together with others. And although dance is a human right, even today governmental, religious and family authorities forbid people to dance. Especially people who because of gender, sexual preference or ethnical background are othered, suppressed or denied, are forced to hide their movements and bodies in public space. Everywhere in the world, also in Europe.

I strive for the right to dance. I believe in the power and richness of dance.

I believe in art.



Confusion of tongues

Confusion of tongues

Let us see a confusion of tongues as an invitation to keep talking. To enter new territories together. 

Let us investigate used definitions and find new words. To open a next chapter in a process.

Whether that is in a process of making a work of art, or in a changing organization, or in a personal relationship.

Confusion of tongues can be hopeful.

Definitions are in flux. Words are weighed differently. There can be silences. New words will sound...






Mathieu Mercier / Love and Hate
Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) / Concetto Spaziale, Attesa
Wangechi Mutu / Untitled from Eve (2006)
Louise Bourgeois / Textile sculpture


Elina Brotherus / Disobedience after VALIE EXPORT / Stand Up, Sit Down / © Elina Brotherus
Red, yellow, green and blue, basic colors
Louise Bourgeois / Arched Figure (1997)
Maurizio Nannucci / Listen to your eyes (2016)


I debrief people who are at the forefront and embody change





I'm a thread in a larger tapestry












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webdesign Esther Noyons /

webdeveloper Joes Koppers /

© unknown
Cosmic-Drive / © Katinka-Schuett (2019)
Peggy Olislaegers


David Shrigley / Sign blue (2015)
Daniel Firman / Esther (2006)

Together we are stronger