Distributor:  The Fanlight Collection
Length:  22 minutes
Date:  2007
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 9-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
You must register and login to preview and purchase items.
You might also be interested in...

Phoenix Dance

New to Docuseek2? Please register and login to preview and/or license this film. If your institution has already licensed this film, you will need to access this page from your institution's network to watch the film. For help on using Docuseek2, please visit our help wiki.

Dancer Homer Avila lost his right leg and most of his hip to cancer and thought he'd never dance again until choreographer Alonzo King challenged expectations of what it means to be 'disabled.'

Phoenix Dance

A heroic journey of transformation and healing, Phoenix Dance challenges our expectations of what it means to be 'disabled.' In March, 2001, renowned dancer Homer Avila discovered that the pain in his hip was cancer. A month later, his right leg and most of his hip were amputated.

Through interviews, studio rehearsals, and performances, Phoenix Dance follows the evolution of Pas, a pas de deux created for Avila by choreographer Alonzo King. In a deeply moving and intimate collaboration with dancer Andrea Flores, Avila creates a new unity a beautiful creature with three legs and four arms in which traditional roles are reversed: the man's vulnerability and the woman's strength sweetly complement each other, and their solo outbursts develop themes of interdependence, trust, and strength.

'For me,' Alonzo King says in the film, 'a pas de deux is a microscopic look into relationship, and relationship could mean you with yourself...It could mean a part of you that's dying. It could be you and your God, you and nature... wherever there is two negotiating or becoming one, or struggling.'

When his cancer recurred, Homer told only a few friends that he was going to forego treatment in order to continue the life he loved dancing. Both 16 and 22 minute versions are included.

'Deeply inspirational.' - The New York Times

'This extraordinary film draws a wonderful portrait of the late, great Homer Avila, an icon of American contemporary dance.' - Toronto Globe and Mail

'One of those rare poignant films that touches the very depths of the soul and dwells within.' - Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

'Unsentimental and deeply moving. Reveals Avila's unwavering strength, as well as his tender and playful nature, in the face of reinventing himself.' - Dance Magazine

'I was blown away. Not only is it an amazing story but the dancing, filming and editing are gorgeous.' - Deirdre McGrath, Community Resources for Independence

'Not a lamentation or a ploy to evoke sympathy from the audience, the film transcends Avila's story and speaks to the meaning of true artistry.' - eclpse.livejournal.com


** Selected for Documentary Short List, Academy Awards
** Special Achievement, Isadora Duncan Dance Award
** Premiere, Dance on Camera Festival, Lincoln Center
** Golden Gate Award, San Francisco International
** Official Selection, IDA DocuWeek Showcase
** Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
** Superfest International Disability Film Festival, Merit Award
** International Ballet Festival of Miami
** Cinedans International, Amsterdam
** Santa Barbara International Film Festival
** Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
** Mill Valley Film Festival
** Heartland Film Festival
** Nashville Film Festival


Main credits

Epperlein, Karina (Producer)
Epperlein, Karina (Director)
Epperlein, Karina (Cinematographer)
Epperlein, Karina (Film editor)
Knoop, John (Cinematographer)
Leibrecht, Gina (Film editor)
Avila, Homer (dnc)
Flores, Andrea (dnc)
King, Alonzo (chr)

Other credits

Photographed by Karina Epperlein, John Knoop; edited by Karina Epperlein, Gina Leibrecht.

Distributor credits

By Karina Epperlein

By Karina Epperlein

Karina Films
2006 Academy Awards, Documentary Short List

Docuseek2 subjects

Physical Disabilities

Distributor subjects

Disabilities and the Arts
Fanlight Collection
Physical Disabilities
Physical Therapy


documentary; captioned video ; film; DVd; dance; dancer; modern dance; ballet; choreograph; choreography; choreographer; oscar; academy award; homer avila; andrea flores; alonzo king; pas de deux; cancer; chondrosarcoma; amputation; amputee; amputate; axis dance company; one-legged; one legged; body image; disability; disabilities; disabled; crippled; handicap; handicapped; challenged; accessible; accessibility; physical rehabilitation; ; "Phoenix Dance"; The Fanlight Collection;

Welcome to Docuseek2!

Docuseek2 is a streaming platform of the best documentary and social issue films available for the higher education community.

Anyone may search for titles and find detailed information about the titles. To preview films or license them for streaming, you must register and login.

Currently, we support online registration for anyone affiliated with a higher education institution. Please inquire if you are with a K-12 district or school or with a public library.

Click the Close button to get started!