Peggy Piacenza

performing artist

Some Thoughts on Touch Me Here

Touch Me Here premiered in Seattle November 2014 at Washington Hall. I am grateful for the opportunity that Velocity Dance Center has given me to reprise this work in September 2015. 

Performance is a strange calling: rehearsing in the "barn" of our family garage; directing my childhood friends in our annual 4th of July extravaganza; waving a tambourine, singing and dancing to The Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together.” I’ve been selling tickets since the age of five.  

I’ve always been compelled to try and capture a moment in time and space in the dark of a theater box; to shine a light on sensation; to reveal the contours of its shape with movement, or conjure its silhouette with stillness; to diagram its boundaries with music or blur its edges with silence: to put on the costume of a tin soldier; a slow attempt to lift my body off the ground; to move, until just standing still. The creative act gives us a chance to remember that our minds are flexible. Making work inspires the questions we as humans seek to answer in our daily life: Who am I? What is it that drives our desires?

Not too many years ago I was in the studio choreographing. My body was feeling heavy and ideas were coming slow. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I caught a reflection in the mirror of myself in motion. It was just a moment in time, but in that instant a flood of emotion poured forth: the realization that I was dancing; the revelation that a single dream from a young age had carried me forward to this moment. I felt beauty, yet with the understanding that this body is getting older, and thoughts about age and how it will affect my performing life. I became exquisitely aware of why I do this.

Touch Me Here is imbued with all of the work that I’ve done over the years. I conceive it as a memoir in movement; a story questioning this body in space and time; a narrative propelled by motion and performance. The entire evening is a revelation, whereby the concept of touch becomes my central focus reflecting on my lived experiences. Touch. How have I been touched throughout my life: physically, spiritually, sexually, intellectually, and emotionally? Touch Me Here is a quest in search of understanding for all that is human, a way of knowing through the body. I call to mind devotion, a connection and commitment to something larger then ourselves, expressed through a physical act, beyond fear, beyond gender. I suggest that humans learn to read the body as one might read a sacred text. I view dance as an expressive element of religion in the sense that each human gesture becomes a source of contemplation, a mystery perhaps unnamed aside from artistic representation.

These are some thoughts that have been on my mind while creating this piece.