Phoenix Dance
Cast & Crew

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HOMER AVILA connected with dance as his life’s passion while studying at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Prior to dance, his love of movement was realized through competitive gymnastics in his hometown of New Orleans. After moving to New York, Homer performed with Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Ralph Lemon and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Homer was known best for work with Avila/Weeks Dance, a modern-dance company he directed with Edisa Weeks. His pieces covered a wide variety of topics, standing out for the most part for strong visual imagery.

Homer’s choreography was commissioned by Adelphi University, Ailey II, Hofstra University, NYU's Washington Square Repertory Ensemble, and Agnes Scott College. His work has been performed at the Guggenheim Museum, Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, the National Black Arts Festival, and Summer Stages Dance. He taught at, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Oberlin College, Spelman College and Wesleyan College.

In 2001 Homer was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a rare form of cancer; shortly thereafter, his right leg and hip were amputated. Buoyed by the support of the worldwide dance community, Homer returned to dance seeking to further explore his potential. Out of that exploration came his "Not/Without Words" and . “(Body of) Works In Progress”. He also performed new work choreographed by Vicky Marks, Alonzo King, and Dana Casperson at P.S.122, Ballett Frankfurt, the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center and other venues. At the time of his death on April 25, 2004, Homer was creating a solo for Cleveland’s Dancing Wheels dance company.

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Bay Area dancer ANDREA FLORES has performed with Alonzo King's Lines Contemporary Ballet Company, Kunst-Stoff Dance Troupe, Lawrence Pech Dance Company, San Francisco Ballet, Smuin Ballet, and most recently, The Foundry. Andrea teaches ballet, jazz, and hip-hop at the Debbie Allen’s Early Bird Summer Intensive, the LINES Ballet School’s Pre-Professional Program, and the Rhythm and Motion Dance Center in San Francisco. Andrea is also a professional photographer specializing in the performing arts and special events.

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ALONZO KING has works in the repertories of companies throughout the world including Frankfurt Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and Hong Kong Ballet. He has worked extensively in opera, television, and film and has choreographed works for prima ballerina Natalia Makarova and film star Patrick Swayze. Renowned for his skill as a teacher, Mr. King has been the guest ballet master for National Ballet of Canada, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, San Francisco Ballet, and others.

In 1982, Mr. King founded Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, which has developed into an international touring company. Seven years later, he inaugurated the San Francisco Dance Center, which has grown into one of the largest dance facilities on the West Coast. In 2001, Alonzo King started the LINES Ballet School and Pre-Professional Program to nurture and develop the talents of young dancers.

Alonzo King is a recipient of the NEA Choreographer's Fellowship, Irvine Fellowship in Dance, and the National Dance Residency Program. He has received five Isadora Duncan Awards. Alonzo King has served on panels for the National Endowment of the Arts, California Arts Council, City of Columbus Arts Council and Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Arts Partners Program. In 2005 he was named a Master of African-American Choreography by the Kennedy Center. He is a former commissioner for the city and county of San Francisco, and a writer and lecturer on the art of dance.

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A native of Germany, KARINA EPPERLEIN has worked in Europe and the U.S. for the past thirty years as a theater artist, teacher, and filmmaker. Her earlier performance videos Labyrinthian (1984) and i.e.Deutschland (1988) were followed by her award-winning documentary Voices From Inside (1996) about women in prison and their children outside. Karina also directed Women's Rites (2000), a video about dancer Anna Halprin's Expressive Arts Therapy. Her film I Will Not Be Sad In This World (2001) is a lyrical portrait of a 94-year-old survivor of the 1915 Armenian genocide. In 2003 Karina directed We Are Here Together (2003), a film about the temptestuous first year of an alternative charter high school in Alameda, California. Her latest film Phoenix Dance is about a one-legged dancer’s return to the stage.

An independent filmmaker since 1967, JOHN KNOOP has also been an active cinematographer with extensive documentary credits including Louie-Bluie, Maria's Story, Poison in the Rockies, Thanh's War, and Where the Heart Roams. Among the films Knoop has produced and directed are The Legacy of Argentina’s Dirty War, River Out of Time, Report from Iraq, Shadow Master, Memories of the Hunt, and Sea of Cortez. From 1990 through 1996 he worked with correspondent Elizabeth Farnsworth on 62 short documentary reports from Asia, Latin America and the U.S. for the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. In 2003 John co-produced (with Karina Epperlein) We Are Here Together, a film about an alternative charter high school in Alameda, California.

Associate Producer/Editor
Filmmaker GINA LEIBRECHT has collaborated with acclaimed documentary filmmaker Les Blank on several projects, including editing White Feathers, Black Bones and Native Glory, a film about the whimsical art collector Rene di Rosa. She recently edited Frank Green’s Counting Sheep; David L. Brown’s Of Wind and Waves: The Life of Woody Brown; and Larry Reed’s Explorations of the Shadow World. Gina is currently working with Lynn Hershman on her documentary Changing Worlds about the history.

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