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 Dance Theater worked with a team of advisors to assess its options following the recent departure of one of its three founding directors. Because the three-way collaboration fueled all of Headlong's productions over its 20-year history, this self-reflexive process enabled the remaining co-directors to assess what appeared to be an uncertain future. Headlong assembled and met with a team of advisors that included arts consultant Diane Mataraza, David White of New York's Dance Theater Workshop, and Wayne Hazard of Dancers' Group in San Francisco. At the end of the process, Headlong and the team concluded that the remaining co-directors would continue operations working together as well as separately to produce high-quality artistic output and to allow for more individual leadership over projects and programs. [fn]Management grants, through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, were awarded from 2009 through 2013.[/fn]