The New Headlong

A new day is dawning for me and David.  Since January, we have been doing a lot of soul-searching and planning to figure out who we are and who we will be without Andrew.  In June and July we had some amazing retreats with trusted advisors to help us figure out what we wanted for the future, and how to get there.

Big thanks to The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and Wyncote Foundation for funding this process, and to Diane Mataraza, Wayne Hazzard, David White, and board member Andrew Zitcer for their brilliant and thoughtful advice.  So what did we decide?  (Drumroll, please)

  • David and I will continue to entwine our artistic lives, and we are excited to keep collaborating on this magical beast called Headlong.
  • We are streamlining and freeing how we get things done by taking more individual leadership over projects and programs.
  • We’re focusing the idea of what we do: Headlong is a platform for artistic research and performance, as well as a wide range of other kinds of support.
  • We are changing our name from “Headlong Dance Theater” to just “Headlong”.
  • We will be inviting a small, carefully curated group of artists and groups into the inner circle of Headlong, as Incubated Artists.  We want to help them reach their potential as artists, and our not-so-secret agenda is that we want to help them find traction nationally, (if that’s what they want).  National grants, conferences, touring, etc.
  • We will start to formalize the services we are already providing to fellow artists in the community, from financial advice to communications strategy, so that other artists can use what we have learned over the past 20 years to build their own sustainable lives as artists.
  • Headlong Performance Institute will continue to be a dynamic program that brings artists to Philadelphia and trains them to be the artistic leaders and thinkers for tomorrow.
  • Everything David and I do (teaching, making work, collaborating with other artists, commissions, advice-giving, etc.) will be consolidated within Headlong’s evolving programs and projects.

We are super excited about the future, in spite of the spate of bad news about the local funding environment over the past year or so.  We are returning to a mentality we had in the 90s before we ever received significant funding:  work with other artists in the community to DO IT OURSELVES.  If we share resources and support each other, we can all succeed.

Yes, I am a hippie.

PLUS we recently went on tour to TWO DIFFERENT LOCATIONS in the SAME WEEKEND!  David went to Connecticut College with Avalanche and I went to the Ingenuity Festival in Cleveland with Red Rovers.

It’s funny, because even though we were in a bit of a Limbo State after Andrew’s departure, trying to decide what was next, we have had a ton of artistic activity going on.  I received support from the MAP Fund to create a new piece on the Tugboat Jupiter (stay tuned!) I was asked to speak about Headlong’s work at the TCG Audience Revolution convening, and at SMU in Dallas, TX, on a panel about art-making that includes community-mindedness.  David was commissioned by Temple Contemporary to create an installation for their gallery (more from him really soon).  As a Creative Capital Artist Advisor, I got to hang out with a bunch of amazing artists this summer at their retreat at Williams College:  Deborah Hay, Faye Driscoll, DD Dorvillier, Shawn Sides, Jae Rhim Lee, Nick Slie, Millicent Johnnie, Neal Medlyn, Tahir Hemphill, Complex Movements, the Fallen Fruit guys, the Ghana Think Tank folks.  The list goes on and on.  It was a whirlwind of awesomeness.

So we are seriously maximizing capacity, people.  And our new class of HPI students is amazing as well.  Here they are “nermalling” in their version of Headlong’s piece, Galaxie, which was Rick Henderson’s favorite Headlong piece.

If you remember seeing Galaxie at the Drake Theater in the mid-90s, email me your address and I will send you a special prize.

with love,