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Flash Response, 5-17: Homer Redux
Letters from John Avila, Theresa Sareo, and Cherlyn Smith

Homer was my hero

Thank you so much for allowing Homer's friends an opportunity to share his memory with others in the Dance Insider. I am deeply touched and grateful to everyone for their kind words. I am making hard copies so our mother may read the legacy of love he leaves with his passing. Over the years, I frequently questioned why and how he could dedicate his life to a pursuit that was so grueling on his body and had virtually no monetary gain. He always laughed and said, "Little brother, I am earning so much more than I will ever spend." Homer was my hero; in the age of multi-million dollar sports stars with record endorsements, Homer devoted his life to the beautiful art form of dance. He was such a gifted athlete that I am sure he would have been successful at any number of mainstream athletic endeavors. The ceremony of April 29 was a celebration of a life not wasted; the love and gratitude expressed by all those lovely people who Homer had touched was by far the most inspirational experience of my life.

My big brother, Homer, lived and died with riches that only those dedicated to unselfishness and with a pure spirit will ever know. Thank you for making his journey on this earth wonderful, he truly loved the dance community. I am sure he is dancing now without the confines of a handicapped body.

-- God bless,
John Avila
Livermore, California

Anniversary of an amputation

My name is Theresa Sareo and I am a singer/songwriter who knew Homer for a brief, yet precious time. I was hit by an SUV in midtown on June 11, 2002 and lost my entire right leg at my hip. While I was in the hospital, a dancer friend kept mentioning Homer to me and I think I got an e-mail from him. Upon returning home from my two-month hospital stay I started looking for him and we finally met one year ago. I was taken by his loving, embracing, courageous spirit and knew I was befriending someone very special. He ended up throwing himself a 'birthday' celebration (I believe it was the anniversary of his amputation rather than his actual birthday); (it was) Homer's way of embracing his life and his experience through his love of dance and friendship. He graciously invited me to perform with him at City Center, singing in between his dance pieces. I was so inspired by this multi-artistic event and was hoping to do another similar performance with him again.

It's so hard when people we love and need in our lives disappear. Though I am grieving this loss, I am grateful that Homer lived his life on his terms -- clear and in direct contact with all that he loved and cherished -- and that he didn't suffer and danced up until his final day. He may have known all along that he was "on his final leg," and instead of spending the time grieving for his life, he chose to express and learn and give, thus I got to know and love him for myself. I am moved by his words when he lists the things he lost because I often mourn what I have lost too. I see how his final loss, being his fear, became the key to living his life solely through his spirit. It is how we all aspire to be and I am the greater for having been a witness to his legacy.

.... Thank you for writing such a perfect article in honor of his life.

-- Sincerely,

Improvisation with two-legger

I had the great honor (and mostly joy) of performing with Homer at a gallery opening in New York this April 1, featuring technology designed to allow children with no limb function to "dance" vicariously through watching live feed video and using computers. I had known and admired him as a dance colleague for many years before, but had never worked with him. It was amazing enough to have known what he endured and overcame, but to perform with him was so wonderful, so normal.... Two dancers improvising (one "two-legger" as he called me, and him), discovering...what can we do? What works for both of us and the piece....? I then returned from touring to hear of his (seemingly, after all of this) sudden death. Oh, dear Homer.... My admiration for his continued artistry is huge. My anger at his death after the courage he showed is even more immense....

-- Cherlyn Smith

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