David Brick is Co-Director ofHeadlong- a platform for performance and art research based in Philadelphia; and Director of the Headlong Performance Institute, an immersive training program for creating experimental performance. He collaborates broadly in creating performance, participatory installations and community. The experience of growing up in a deaf family continually influences David’s interest in the body as an active manifestation of culture. Moving between deaf and hearing worlds provides a vantage for seeing the body and its perceptions squarely at the crossroads of action and thought, imagination and necessity, individuality and community. His recent work has been a large scale public art project called The Quiet Circus that took place along the Delaware River water front in Philadelphia. Thirty-six weekly performances took place weekly over the course of a year and a half in a work that evolved through interactions and ongoing participation by audiences: www.thequietcircus.com/blog.
Headlong is a platform for performance and art research based in Philadelphia. Since 1993, Headlong has created over forty dances performed nationally and internationally at places like the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, PICA's Time Based Art Festival, Mass MoCA, PS 122, Washington DC’s Dance Place and the Yale Festival of Arts and Ideas among many others. The wide range of Headlong's work springs from a deep commitment to collaboration, humor, and formal experimentation. Notable Headlong works include This Town is a Mystery, an intimate series of performances by non-artists performing in their own homes; Cell, an urban performance journey for 1 audience member at a time; Hotel Pool which takes place in and around a hotel pool; and Star Wars and Other Stories for which they won a Bessie (New York Dance and Performance) award for choreography. Headlong’s work has been supported by numerous NEA grants, Creative Capital, the Rockefeller Foundation MAP fund, The New England Foundation for the Arts/National Dance Project, the Wyncote Foundation, The William Penn Foundation and the Pew Center for Arts and Culture, and many others. Fellowships awarded to Brick include a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, an Independence Foundation Fellowship and a 2012 Creative Artist Fellowship from the Japan-US Friendship Commission.
Since directing Headlong’s Hotel Pool in 2004, Brick’s concerns have focused on the choreography of presence and perception and the porous boundary between the ordinary world and that of performance. These ideas have been explored in Headlong works such as Pusher, Cell, Explanatorium, More, Warp and Weft, Situations for Unlikely Bodies and This Town is a Mystery. Other relevant works in this research include Pig Iron Theater Company’s Love Unpunished, which he co-created and choreographed and features performers travelling up and down stairs and falling—ordinary actions taken to a heightened and dilated extreme; and Wind-Up, a piece he directed through the Atelier program at Princeton University in collaboration with Dan Rothenberg of Pig Iron and MacArthur Fellow Mimi Lien, working with ideas from Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and Viet Nam war writer Tim O’Brien. More recently he worked with Dan Rothenberg on the US premiere of Toshiki Okada’s The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise (2014). In 2012 he directed a workshop of Island, performed in Tokyo at the International House of Japan. Island emerged from research as a Creative Artist Fellow of the Japan-US Friendship Commission, working with visual designer Maiko Matsushima and six Japanese performers between the ages of 24 and 74. Island is a choreographic ode to the rhythm of the Japanese inland sea, the sensation of space and the luminous quality of the ordinary. In June of 2016 work on Island with an cross- generational cast of six will continued in residency at The Yard in Chilmark Massachusetts and is the foundation of The Quiet Circus, a weekly participatory performance residency that takes place at the Washington Avenue Pier in South Philadelphia from September, 2016 through November, 2017.
In 2008 David co-founded the Headlong Performance Institute, a training program for creating experimental performance. David directs the program and a constantly evolving curriculum that trains artists to research, create and embody performance worlds that grow from insight and imagination. Other teaching includes improvisation with Ishmael Houston Jones at the American Dance Festival, teaching at The Volcano Conservatory in Toronto and the Whenever, Wherever Festival in Tokyo in addition to extensive residency work and ongoing open classes in Philadelphia. Recent classes and workshops are Making and the Circle of Insight, The World is Choreography, Good Boring/ Bad Boring, Art Party/ Dance Research and Luminous Presence and the Sensation of Space. He teaches contact improvisation with a special focus on engaging sight and the sensation of space. He has taught Dance Composition at Bryn Mawr College since 1998. And he serves as the mentor to artists every summer at The Yard as part of The Bessie Schonberg Choreographic Mentorship Residency.
Leah Wilks is a dancer, choreographer, musician, and teacher originally hailing from North Carolina. She holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where her research focused around practices of memorialization and queering classrooms. Her work has been produced at the Cordoba Center for the Arts (Durham, NC), the American Dance Festival (Durham, NC), the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Urbana, IL), and on tour with the North Carolina Dance Festival. Most recently she has performed with Sara Hook, Renay Aumiller Dances, real.live.people.durham, and Kendra Portier/BAND. Leah has taught beginners through professionals at a variety of locations including the American Dance Festival, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, NC State University, UNC Greensboro, Elon University, 9th St. Dance, Carolina Friends School, the Ponderosa Tanzland Festival (Germany), and the Hemispheric Institute’s Graduate Student Initiative Convergence (Toronto, Canada). Her additional service to the field includes helping found Durham Independent Dance Artists, an independent season of dance in Durham, NC, and Culture Mill, an arts non-profit and performing arts laboratory in Saxapahaw, NC.
MAURIAH DONEGAN KRAKER
Photo by Natalie Fiol
Mauriah is an advocate for slow travel: walking around the block and through the city as a means of attending to choreographic unfolding of time cycles in the body + land. Her projects have appeared on printing presses in Germany, mountainsides in Italy, outdoor skating rinks in Taiwan, barns + underpasses in the Midwest. Mauriah’s background in athletics (competing as an Olympic level athlete, touring with Pilobolus, and being raised in a family that walked and biked everywhere) is a driver in the creation of highly physical works attentive to precision, restraint and abandon. She has been presented at the Center for Performance Research (New York), WTF Gallery (Bangkok), the Institute of Visual Arts -INOVA, (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Urbana, Illinois). Accepted in to the first year of Doug Varone's Devices Intensive, a choreographic mentorship project, she presented her solo work at the Harkness Dance Center/92nd Street Y in New York City. She has worked with Debra Loewen’s Midwestern site specific company, Wild Space Dance since 2012. In 2018, she danced alongside Jennifer Monson, premiering the duet bend the even at the Chocolate Factory in Long Island City. Mauriah holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, where she received the Vannie L. Shiery Memorial Dance Scholarship for outstanding performance and served as director of the Children’s Dance program for three years. https://www.kitchendances.com