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 has been one of Philadelphia's most audacious and innovative performance groups, known for previous projects such as CELL and Hotel Pool, which utilized unexpected venues and asked audience members to join the performances. Continuing in that path, This Town Is a Mystery brought dance directly into the private homes of Philadelphia citizens—where the members of those households became the dancers. Interested in creating accessible dances and developing new audiences, often in nontraditional venues, Headlong took this project into various neighborhoods of Philadelphia, where company members worked with non-dancers toward the creation and performance of 25-minute dance-theater works, performed in their homes in front of small audiences, and followed by group dinners. Headlong partnered with Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas and Scribe Video Center to locate participant homes for the project. This Town Is a Mystery was performed in four homes across 32 performances during the 2012 FringeArts Festival.