Founded in 1993 by David Brick, Andrew Simonet, and Amy Smith, and now under the co-direction of Brick and Smith, Headlong is one of Philadelphia's most audacious performance groups, having created over 40 dance works. The group creates collaboratively, with a focus on process, formal experimentation, audience engagement, and site-specificity. In 2011, with Center support, Headlong presented This Town Is a Mystery, a project that brought dance directly into four private homes of Philadelphia citizens—where the members of those households became the dancers. In 2016, Headlong received Center support to present The Quiet Circus, a year-long series of participatory practices conceived as an ongoing public performance at Washington Avenue Green, a one-acre site on the Delaware River waterfront.
Headlong presented The Quiet Circus, a 15-month-long series of performances and conversations held at sites along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers that explored Philadelphia's maritime and industrial heritage while considering human interaction with an urban landscape, community, and the contemplative. In collaboration with curator Mary Jane Jacob, Headlong offered activities to encourage audiences' close observation and sensory awareness of the sites, and a deeper engagement with the urban landscape. A series of 36 evolving performances occurred in weekly runs of three months, followed by periods of reflection guided by Jacob. Performances included Island, a dance-theater score created with Ishmael Houston Jones and Polly Motley; Landscape, a performance game that invited audiences to create their own scenery using nine large-scale sculptures; and The Luminous World, a durational piece in which subtle human actions reveal a buzzing, luminous performance of the environment.
*Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.*