Homer Avila, In Memoriam

The following is a biographical sketch Homer Avila sent us:

"A first-generation American of Central American heritage, Avila moved from his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, to New York City, where he began his training through scholarships received at Alvin Ailey, Harkness House for Ballet Arts, Jacob’s Pillow and the American Dance Theater. Avila had the opportunity to work and perform with Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, Mark Morris, Ralph Lemon, and Moses Pendleton, among many others. For nine years, he codirected and choreographed for Avila/Weeks Dance.

In the spring of 2001, Avila was diagnosed with cancer and had his right leg and hip amputated. Buoyed by the support of the New York and greater dance community, Avila has returned to dance. Addressing this transfiguration as a unique opportunity, his enquiry explores personal strength/vulnerability and the dialogue between balance/imbalance, challenges the concept of ability/disability, and investigates the distinctions and integrations between body and mind.

Homer brings the trained dancer’s discipline and analysis to challenge the challenge of disability. Through ballet and numerous other studies, he has regained the function of his body as an instrument of creative expression. Seeking to further explore this new potential, Avila has created (Body of) Works In Progress. This ongoing choreographic dialogue with noted choreographers, including Alonzo King, Victoria Marks, and Dana Casperson (principal with the Frankfurt Ballet) has been funded by Creative Capital.

Avila’s work has been performed widely at numerous venues, including the Kennedy Center/Millenium Stage, The Guggenheim Museum, and abroad with Ballet Frankfurt. He was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine and has been focused in articles in the New York Times and the Village Voice. A documentary on Avila and Pas/Alonzo King is due out in 2004."

For more information on the documentary about Homer Avila, see Phoenix Dance.

View video clips of Judith Smith on Homer Avila



This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

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