Be alive in every moment. This is a performance.


Headlong Performance Institute is an intensive semester program in the heart of Philadelphia for college students, graduates, and anyone interested in contemporary, collaborative performance. Students are taught by working artists in this 14-week program.



At HPI, student artists train, create, and perform.

Each day includes technique classes, improvisation and composition work, and time for rehearsal. All of this work is grounded in a study of the history of contemporary performance with frequent trips to see live work in Philadelphia and beyond.

our classes →


How do I know if HPI is right for me?

Test #1: Imagine yourself creating experimental performance work that breaks a lot of rules and invents new ones. Do you feel nauseous? Or excited?

Test #2: When you encounter a completely new type of music, film, technology or art, do you get nervous and run away? Or do you get interested and exhilarated?


Blaze your own path. Push and be pushed.
Break the rules. Invent new rules. Break those.

  • Finally I have the words to describe the kind of art I want to make, and language to guide my own creative process.
    — Mason Rosenthal, HPI class of 2011
  • Going to HPI is one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. I learned there's no one right way to make art, there's no one right way to live a life, there's no one right way, there's just the way that works best for you, that lights you and others up.
    — Annie Wilson, HPI class of 2008
  • If you are questioning the state of theater or dance, redefining the words 'artist' and 'professional,' radicalizing the performance space, or want to expand your capacity to sustain your LIFE as an artist — you must challenge yourself to HPI.
    — Adam Kerbel, HPI class of 2011
  • Where does the influence of HPI training end?! ... They teach wonderful, productive, sharp and supportive ways of giving feedback and looking at work. That may be the most important influence on my life.
    — Chelsea Murphy, HPI class of 2012
  • Headlong proposes a courageously holistic alternative to burnout. They argue you can make a sustainable and livable life for yourself as an artist, and that the ultimate test of your dedication is not your destitution.
    — Magda San Millan, HPI class of 2012