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After losing her legs, Marie-Hélène finds freedom in scars and in dance

When she first started using prosthetic legs at age 11, Marie-Hélène Bellavance wanted to hide them. Today, as an adult, she’s not only ‘happy without feet’, but her difference has inspired her many successes in the Canadian contemporary art and dance scenes. By pushing through self-criticism and finding strength in vulnerability, she’s been moved to create art that, in its intimacy, touches ‘the intimacy of others’. And for Bellavance, this embrace of her ‘scars’ isn’t so much an approach to art as it is a philosophy of life, extending to her role as a mother to two young daughters.

The French Canadian director Annie Leclair reflects Bellavance’s warm spirit in her film Grounded (Enracinée) (2020). The short documentary captures Bellavance as she dances, creates and exhibits her mixed-media artworks, and details her evolution as a person and as an artist. Through her subject, Leclair’s charming short makes a heartening case for finding value and freedom in what sets us apart.

Director: Annie Leclair