Phoenix Dance
Artist's Statement

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Aren’t there days when we wake up with no hope, feeling crippled in visible and invisible ways, longing to overcome our limitations of the heart? And then suddenly, to our surprise, we are touched and find the courage to live life with all its possibilities, life in all its beauty.

Imagine a dancer:
The body his instrument, his legs and feet so essential.
What if he is missing one leg?
Is dancing still possible?
Could he dance with one leg?
Homer does just that—he dances with one leg.
No crutches, nothing.
And he makes it look like the most beautiful thing on earth.
He is flying, soaring…

When I saw Homer perform with Andrea Flores in October 2002 at an AXIS Dance Company performance, I had tears streaming down my face, and I urgently asked myself how I could help to bring this utterly inspiring effort to the world. Being a filmmaker I asked Homer if he would be interested in a film about himself and this particular pas de deux which, for me, spoke about the essence of the human experience. I knew nobody would be able to imagine a dancer on one leg like Homer without seeing it. He said yes, and took me on a journey too.

With my film Phoenix Dance, I wanted to stay simple, unsentimental, close to my initial enthusiasm and inspiration allowing the audience to come along with their own feelings.

Homer’s example inspires us to live our own “despite.” His one-legged-ness and vulnerability take away our breath. He becomes a new being, dancing beautifully, and nothing is missing. Life has shaped and molded him. As Alonzo says, in order to overcome hardship we have to come forth with who we really are. Reach beyond our perceived and real limitations of body and heart. Homer is doing just that. Healing is a journey for all of us, and—as with Homer—it moves us toward wholeness.

My work has always aspired toward the themes of transformation and healing; not shying away from looking into the dark corners, finding the light. I bring to Phoenix Dance more than my background as a documentary filmmaker. I am drawn to it by my previous experience as a professional dancer, choreographer, performer and director in theater, and my lifelong work in movement, creative expression and healing, including 25 years as a teacher of T'ai Chi, breath and sound. No matter which medium I am working in, I strive to translate my inner poetic language into images that are emotionally charged and speak to the audience on a visceral level, taking them on a journey.

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