Word of Mouth

Amy Smith, Andrew Simonet, and David Brick run Philadelphia's Headlong Dance Theater, opening Thursday at DTW.

Simonet: We didn't want to be in New York; we wanted our own studio and the time and space to concentrate.

Brick: Experiment. Try stuff out.

Smith: We're from the Richard Bull­Cynthia Novack­Susan Foster tradition of postmodern choreographic improvisation; recently we've stretched into music and making set dances.

Brick: We come out of concept art, but we're interested in being entertaining as well.

Simonet: Bull and Foster did incredible work with form and structure; we try to bring a little more content.

Brick: Stories, personal and appropriated from the culture. Teen Tragedy Trilogyis inspired by the teenager who killed a little boy who came to his door selling candy, and Melissa Drexler, who gave birth at her prom, and schoolhouse shootings. It's not particularly funny, though we do get laughter.

Simonet: A choreographer asked, ''Don't you want to make things that are universal?'' That never crossed my mind. I want to make things that are local, for others like me, strange people floating around in this culture.

Smith: We've been getting support from the Pew Charitable Trust, city and state money, and small foundations, but we're getting bigger, and we don't have the infrastructure.

Brick: We're extraordinarily lucky by all these measures, yet all three of us are still working jobs: I'm a sign-language interpreter and I do arts-in-education consulting.

Smith: I work for a small corporate private-investigation firm, keeping the books, doing the billing--an ad hoc CFO.

Simonet:I teach dance at a private high school, and teach decision-making to primary school kids all over New Jersey.

Smith: We don't have trust funds. We're actually poor.

Brick: We opened for Jonathan Richman when he performed in Philly. A local producer wanted a retro happening so we performed at that rock show as well, and we got a younger audience: ''My friend told me that I would really like this, and I'm sold, and I'm coming back.''

 
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