In this film short, Melissa Michaels dances through her healing journey from late stage ovarian cancer to no evidence of disease. Weaving together images from her surgery, chemotherapy, and unique creative process, her story of liberation is transparently shared. Vulnerable, raw, and inspiring, a picture of what is possible when movement becomes medicine and faith becomes the focus.

  • Melissa Michaels
    Surfing The Creative. Dance of Birth. Pictures of the Possible.
  • Henna Taylor
    Wadi Rum. Valley of the Moon. The Honeymoon is Over. Hip Hop Gone Wild. Speak to Me Softly.
  • Melissa Michaels
  • Golden Bridge
    Surfing The Creative. Dance of Birth. Pictures of the Possible.
  • Henna Taylor Productions
    Wadi Rum. Valley of the Moon. The Honeymoon is Over. Hip Hop Gone Wild. Speak to Me Softly.
  • Melissa Michaels
    Key Cast
    "Self "
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Other
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 11 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 5, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    3,250 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • N/A
Director Biography - Melissa Michaels , Henna Taylor

Henna Taylor is a filmmaker based in Boulder Colorado. In 2011, she decided to begin documenting her experience while living with four midwives in rural Cambodia. Through recording the delicate subject of childbirth in Cambodia, she discovered a passion for uncovering the most subtle and humbling elements of the human spirit. Henna strives to capture basic moments of humanity while creatively weaving them into every story she tells. Whether she is making short promos or long-form documentaries, interviewing a subject in a quiet setting, or shooting an adventure film from off a rope 1200 feet off the ground; these simple moments embody Henna’s work. Henna is known for her enthusiasm to learn, and her engagement in every aspect of storytelling. Her films are the product of this wonder and curiosity. @hennataylorfilms

Melissa Michaels, Ed.D., creates movement-based initiatory experiences, guiding individuals and communities through major life transitions .

As a “soul midwife” and mentor to emerging leaders around the world, she created Surfing The Creative, a rite of passage process that links somatics, human development, and peace-building. Her recently released book, Youth On Fire: Birthing a Generation of Embodied Global Leaders tells the story of this life-changing work as it unfolds in diverse settings ranging from inner city schools to college campuses, and from refugee settlements, to the United Nations.

Melissa is also the founder of Golden Bridge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to our collective renewal through the liberation of the creative Spirit. She is a first generation teacher of the 5Rhythms® and a registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist. Currently, she is training diverse leaders in the body work fueling her teachings, SomaSource®.

Whether she is tending to individuals transitioning from one life cycle to another or to communities in the midst of major change, Melissa dedicates her life to dancing along life’s edges and guiding others as they do the same.

Her recent journey through ovarian cancer into no evidence of disease has also put her on new front lines, creating art with women on the cancer healing journey. She released Twisted Gift, a film sharing the moving story of her healing. She is now working with women on the cancer transformational journey, creating safe and creative spaces for women to remember their R E S I L I E N C E and find connection in community.

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Director Statement

When Melissa and I first spoke about making this film together, I had visions of a deep subconscious, moving and dancing into health. We wanted to not only share her linear experience through ovarian cancer but also the unfolding of her evolving Self throughout the process. Film can be a difficult format to translate the abstract. In my imaginations about how we could communicate her very personal, almost mystical experience, I saw us spending most of the time down deep in the wordless, formless, non-linear spaces of her memory. I knew without a doubt that we needed to record her "telling" of her story through her body first and foremost. The majority of this film was shot on one hour, in a blacked out stage with one hand held camera, one microphone, and one headlamp for light. I knew this would be the only "interview" I would use for the piece. I asked Melissa to dance her story, using her words ONLY when they came naturally. I didn't ask her question or prompt her to fill in the gaps of her story. I was confident her body would share everything it wanted to. This was a natural way for Melissa to work too. The Dance and the Narration in this film is the result of that hour long session, going down into what cannot be predesigned or "directed". It was an honor for me to collaborate on this project with Melissa, to have the opportunity to work in this intuitive and connected way. I hope everyone who watches this film feels an opening to discover parts of themselves they may have buried deep down.