"Best Way to Learn How to Fly" by the SF Weekly
"Best Way to Learn How to Fly" by the SF Weekly
"Best Way to Learn How to Fly" by the SF Weekly's 'Best of 2006.'
Since 2005, UpSwing Aerial Dance Company has been a destination for dancers and movement enthusiasts to push their artistic development.. Director Cherie Carson brings her unique style, blend of movement, encouraging improvisation and collaboration with her dancers and students.
We specialize in merging dance with low flying trapeze (Motivity Trapeze), slings, bungees and rope & harness work. We have 3 teaching dancers/aerialists on faculty, and 5 adjunct faculty committed to the merging of dance and aerial arts. UpSwing Aerial Dance offers a rare blend of creativity, aerial technique, improvisation, time and space to motivate the artist within you.
UpSwing pushes the boundaries of dance in the choreography and in the classes they teach.
UpSwing is a contemporary aerial dance company that features the repertory of Artistic Director Cherie Carson. They have been presented nationally in New York, Seattle & Houston.
UpSwing offers opportunities for students to take classes from the Company as well as nationally recognized choreographers and teachers.
ALL classes, workshops and performances held at Studio 12 are under the direction of Cherie Carson and UpSwing Aerial Dance Company
UpSwing is a contemporary aerial dance company that features the repertory of Artistic Director Cherie Carson. The Company has been presented locally and nationally including New York, Seattle & Houston.
Cherie Carson is a contemporary choreographer, dancer, aerialist, teacher, and interdisciplinary artist, Cherie performed her first aerial dance piece in 1990. In 1992, Cherie began to incorporate video into dance. Her video was a finalist for the Robert Bennett Award in LA. She has choreographed dances performed in a planetarium, on stilts, on roller blades, in sculpture gardens, reflection pools in a dress of 11 yards, on a bungee cord hanging from a Banyan tree, on trapeze and rope & harness. In 1998, Cherie performed to a sold-out house at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. Cherie studied with Molissa Fenley, Merce Cunningham and Bebe Miller at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna, FL on scholarship. Upon arriving in the Bay Area in 2000, Cherie studied with Terry Sendgraff and in 2005 she took over Terry's business. Cherie has created more than 20 aerial pieces for herself, the company and other companies. She has created over a dozen aerial pieces for the aerial kids and teens in the UpSwing programs. The aerial pieces range from solo and duets to group works of 8 dancers.
"My life’s work as a dancer/choreographer/artistic director has been to explore my imagination and intuition. While I am not always sure where the sparks of insight come from that drive me to continue to create, to feel passionately about something that doesn't exist yet, to try things to see if they work, to ask questions, this is how I view life and how I view my art form."
Jennifer (“Jem”) Alvarado is both a performer and teacher of aerial dance, with an emphasis on performance with aerial fabric. She has studied with Arwen Anderson and Kerri Kerinski, and continues to learn from other aerialists. Alvarado also manages her own studio where she teaches yoga, and has been a P.E. instructor for 10 years at the Challenger school. “I’m inspired by working with UpSwing,” she says. “Performing on rope and harness is new to me, and I enjoy having the chance to collaborate with other dancers.” www.FlyingYogaLove.com
Kirstin Brown has a BA in Theatre Arts from Humboldt State University. She has worked as a professional makeup artist and currently performs as a belly dancer. Kirstin recently joined the UpSwing company as part of her continuing dance studies: "The next step in my dancing career is to get off the floor, and into the air!."
Helen Dickson danced on the ground for many years, but a whole new world opened up in 2010 when she began dancing with the La Petite Chouette Aerial Dance Company in Santa Barbara. She had the opportunity to learn many aerial genres (including fabrics, rope, trapeze and lyra), and has had the pleasure of performing in California, Arizona, and Colorado. She is thrilled to be dancing with the UpSwing Company!
Hannah Dworkin is a skilled performing artist and educator with a strong background in modern and aerial dance as well as in opera. The Director of UpSwing Youth Programs, she is a fully credentialed classroom and music teacher. Dworkin holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of California Berkeley and an M.A. in Music and Music Education from Columbia University. A regular performer in musical theatre, she has “flown” in musicals, from Aladdin to Peter Pan. “What I enjoy about performing with UpSwing is that the work unites what I love about the arts – both the visual and dance aspects,” she says.
;Ashley Foster studied aerial dance with Terry Sendgraff, noted aerial dance pioneer, after having a taste of aerial arts at Camp Winnarainbow. She also performed and co-choreographed as part of Terry Sendgraff’s Aerial Dancers for several years and had a stint performing aerial and various other circus arts with the Technomania Circus. Since Sendgraff’s retirement, Foster has been working with Cherie Carson and UpSwing Aerial Dance Company, both performing with the company and teaching a beginning/intermediate aerial dance class. “I really appreciate the opportunities for growth that Cherie has provided,” notes Foster, when asked about her work with the company. Beyond aerial arts, Foster has earned gold medals at the 2012 World Unicycling Championships, designed award-winning costumes, presented at conferences on sustainability and climate change issues, and traveled much of the globe. Her formal education includes a B.S. in Chemistry, an M.S. in Environmental Science Engineering, and a certificate in Apparel Design & Merchandising.
Kiran Haithcox is a native of Chicago. She studied ballet and took modern dance classes at Connecticut Wesleyan University, where she earned a degree in Earth and Environmental Science. Moving to the Bay Area, she studied trapeze and circus arts, and took aerial classes with Terry Sendgraff where she learned to dance on stilts. She later joined the UpSwing Company, studying with Cherie Carson. She enjoys the exploratory nature of working with the company, noting “There’s never a formula for our work. Cherie builds her choreography on the discovery of working with us, finding out what happens as we explore using different kinds of equipment.” When not dancing, Kiran teaches Pilates and offers massage.
Elizabeth Milne-Kahn is a graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz, where she majored in Community Studies. She holds a teaching credential from Mills College, and teaches elementary school. Her early training was in gymnastics and ice skating. She began working with Terry Sendgraff in 2000, performing with Cherie Carson, and later with Miranda Company in Santa Cruz. She returned to the Bay Area, studying and performing again with UpSwing. “Aerial dance is more meditative and more expressive for me than gymnastics or circus skills,” Milne-Kahn says. “The artistry is more of a challenge, and that’s what I love about it.”
Alissa Kaplan Soto studied aerial dance for six years with Terry Sendgraff and performed with her company until Sendgraff’s retirement. She then began studying with Cherie Carson, and joined UpSwing Company, returning for this year’s season after 3 years on the East Coast, where she performed with Julie Ludwick’s Fly-by-Night Dance Theater. “Cherie’s improvisational style allows her to incorporate the strengths of each individual in the company,” Soto observes. “There’s an organic process that goes into making each dance.” Soto holds a B.F.A. in Ceramics and an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Hunter College. She is a working artist and teacher. www.alissakaplan.com
Sarah Stolar is an interdisciplinary artist who lives in the Bay Area. Her primary focus is drawing and painting, however she also works in multi-media installation, film, and video. She grew up in an art studio/school environment, received a BFA in Painting from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and a MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she currently teaches. Sarah Stolar is also involved in collaborative projects with several notable performance artists, she has worked on two feature-length films, and curated five gallery and museum exhibitions. Selected visual art and performance exhibitions include the Donaufestival, Krems, Austria; Anti-Contemporary Art Festival, Kuopio, Finland; Currents 2011, Santa Fe; 53rd Venice Biennale; and a solo exhibition at the Bohemian Gallery & Museum of Contemporary Art, Montevideo, Uruguay.
Sarah appreciates the cross-disciplinary nature of working with Upswing. "Cherie has the ability to merge aerial with conceptual aspects of visual performance," she says. "It's not just the movement that makes each piece exciting; it's the story behind the dance, the costume, as if the dancers become part of a moving sculpture." www.sarahstolar.com
Originally from Portland, Cara Zeisloft began dancing at age four, and began taking classes when she was eleven. Cara first danced in the air at The Evergreen State College in 1992, then studied in Seattle with Robert Davidson. She has also danced on the ground with the Chimene Pollard Dance Group, and performed with We Players in site-specific theater on Alcatraz. Cara has a psychotherapy practice in Berkeley, where she helps people with issues of gender and sexuality, relationships, and integrating masculinity and intimacy. While Cara makes dances of her own, she relishes the chance to turn over the choreography to the ever-inventive Cherie Carson, and just fly.
Richard Kittle has worked throughout the Bay Area with aerialists and aerial companies including Project Bandaloop and Kim Epifano. He has been rigging for UpSwing shows since 2005.
Back To Life Wellness Center, Berkeley Moving Arts, Ha Ha This A-Way, Buddy Club, Chef Pascal, Clif Bar and Co., #GoPro, #GlassDharma, Monkey Business Camp, Mays Cleaners, Mays Flowers, Namaste Yoga & Wellness Studios, Powell's Sweet Shoppe, Sur La Table, Vee Horticulture, Studio 12, Tequila Jorongo, Wente Wines, 8th Street Studio
Sue Arendt, Larry Abel, Jessica Allard, Jennifer Ames, Arielle, Jerilyn Bedingfield, Blair, Ruth Botchin, Erica Bowman, Judy Boe, Budinger and Scarpelli, Amy Calhoun, David Chee, Chris Crane, Aryanna Downey, Hannah Dworkin, Samantha Farbman, Jonathan Greenwood, Annie Groeninger, Kevin Hamilton, Summers Henderson, Sandra Hughes, Jade, Jesse Johnson, Barbara & Barry Kaplan, Fran Katsuranis, Kevin Keller, Carla Koopal, James Kennedy, Linda Lamerdin, Claire Lavery, Patrick Leaper, Laylabu, Gillian Leslie, Jay Marlette, Robert Larsen &Linda Mauskopf, Margaret Mulligan, Bet Muth, Daryn Nakhuda, Nancy Ng, Jordan K Paul, Lynn Pfaender, Marsha Quick, Linda Riccardi, Deborah Sanborn, Mark Segura, Lisa Smeraldi, Debra S, Theron Shaw, Catherine Stern, Marcy Straw, Blanka Soltys, Bernie Talerico, Kate Tanaka, Penny Taylor, Ruby Thomas, Jessika Vermette, Beth & Eric Zuckerman
Dan Bornstein, Anne Capelli, J. Tanner Cusick, Linda Elkin, Daniel Evans & Jennifer Pesek, Ashley Foster, Flux Foundation, Steffan Haithcox, Janet Kaplan, Evangel King, Kimberly Markison, Mark Pasley, Rachna Ram, Mark Ray, Roy Anthony Shabla, Annie Stine, Yolanda Vasquez
Dr. Jan Alden, Jason Anderson, Vanessa Berkmark, Deborah Cavanaugh, Jim Chappelow, Brian Estlin, Molissa Fenley, Karin Golde, Vicki Gunter & Peter Brown, Marilyn Haithcox, Sabine Jeske, Nancy Leatzow, Deena Levy, Luxzia, Linda Mauskopf, Margaret Medina, Sabra Melamed, Mona Meline, Leah Miller-Freeman, Sanctuary for the Arts, Debra Sanborn, Laura Schatzkin and Kevin Stamps, Sue Schroeder, Ashvin Shah, Amy Sheridan, Sola Takahashi, Tara, Celeste Vasti, Cara Zeisloft
Anonymous, Teri Angst, Annie Archbold, Cindy Lopez/Azure Salon, Dina Basile, Sarah Bowman, Marion and Ruth Carson, Mark Crow, Kevin Haithcox, Anita Kahn, Bina Jangda, Bhavneet Kaveeshar, Vanessa Kuemmerle and Lee Steinmetz, Anne Lowry, Joseph Lutz, Robert MacGowan, Leah Mann & Ela Lamblin (Lelavision), Heather Mitchell, Rosanna Poret, Todd Pritchett, Matt Proud, Sana Noble, Mark Ray, Allen and Karen Ronquillo, Douglas Scott & Marcelo Roman, Elena Ronquillo, Deena Smith, Diana Steinhagen, Sandra Tillin, Andrea Weiner, Sue Carol Witt
Claire Bach, Mrs. Raymond Beeley, Barbara Hendrickson, Sarah Kurtz, Leah Mann and Ela Lamblin of Lelavision, Linda Riccardi, Regina Schaffer
Barbara Barnett, Dr. Suzie Vlcek Lee, Mary Ware
#GoPro, Kim Adams, Roya Arasteh, Hadas Aranow, Jim Beatty, Andrej Diamantstein, Sara Draper, Hannah Dworkin, Ashley Foster, Suzanne Gallo, Beth Gelfand, Mindy Ha, Kiran Haithcox, Judith Justiz, Bina Jangda, Bhavneet Kaveeshar, Vanessa Kuemmerlee and Vee Horticulture, Carla Koopal, Bryan Kato, Elaine Lee, Robert MacGowan, Brent McCullough, Rondi Phillips, Catherine Trowbridge, Yolanda Vasquez, Claudia Venn and Venn Acupuncture, Suzie Vlcek-Lee, Sydney Walker, Judy Wenning, Isabella Wilk
Kirstin Brown, Beth Gelfand, Rondi Phillips, Peggy Mulligan and Isabella Wilk
Current UpSwing Repertory
Created in 2013 for 3 dancers, “Outpost moves through the personal longings of each dancer. Created for aerial tissu and floor dancing
Created 2013, “Hijinks” is a fun group piece for 4-6 dancers on rope and bungee
Created in 2011-12, “Chandelier” is a duet piece in which the dancers create a living chandelier.
Created in 2010, “Snowbirds” is a group dance on rope and harness as dancers move snow is released on stag
Also created in 2008, “Slightly Cracked” is a humorous solo which involves a raw egg while dancing on a sling
Created in 2007 and first performed at Women who Fly Festival, Mission Dance, SF, CA duet on rope and harness
Created in 2006, is a multimedia aerial solo on rope with video projected on a wall
Created in 2005 is a trio piece on 3 ropes
Created in 2001, is an aerial dance on bungee cord
Created in 2001, first performed at St. James Church, SF, CA, site-specific solo using light to create large shadow play
Created in 1997, first performed at the Klein Fall Fest, Lake Worth, FL; solo performed in a very large dress
July 18-26: Festival of Aerial Arts at Vault Houston - Upswing invited as guest performers and led "Dynamic Duo" workshop
Feb 19: ROOF Gala Community Awards - UpSwing Company guest performance at Red Oak Opportunity Foundation (ROOF) Awards Gala for 2013-14 Grantees. Studio 12, Berkeley, CA
Dec 21: Winter Solstice Celebration is a holiday favorite and the perfect way to celebrate the longest night of the year. The show includes music and dance by some of the Bay Areas finest performers and includes an original visual arts installation specific to the Solstice. 2 shows...one night! Studio 12, Berkeley, CA
August 17: UpSwing invited as guest performers at Open Air Festival, Vashon, WA
August 10: TICKET TO FLY! Company and friends perform in a night of innovative aerial performance and dance! For your viewing pleasure we present trapeze, bungee and rope, aerial silks, belly dance, hoop dance, and much more! Studio 12, Berkeley
April 27: What's Up! Free, Exciting Aerial Performance "What's UP!" is a stellar performance & where you can see the best of what aerial is all about - beautiful, powerful, graceful and lively. Studio 12, Berkeley, CA
February 6: ROOF Awards Ceremony UpSwing Company performs for Red Oak Opportunity Foundation Awards Ceremony. Studio 12, 2525 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA
Dec 12: UpSwing premiers newest work in 12.12.12, Studio 12, Berkeley, CA
July 28, 29: UpSwing invited as guest performers at Open Air Festival, Vashon, WA
On July 29 from 10:30-12 (noon) Rope and Harness workshop
April 29: Dance-A-Rama at Studio 12, Berkeley, CA...Show celebrates National Dance Week Sneak preview of new aerial dance work "Chandeliers"
May 5 & 6: UpSwing guest performers at Diamonds in the Rough, an interactive exhibit of art, innovation and industry, American Steel Gallery, Oakland, CA - performing "Chandeliers"
Dec 21: Winter Solstice Celebration at Studio 12, Berkeley, CA
Dec 2 & 3: NY Aerial Festival, Manhattan Movement Arts Center, NY - performing "Inside the Circle"
Nov 29: NY Aerial Festival, Laguardia Performing Arts Center, NY - performing "Inside the Circle"
August 20 & 21: Fundraiser for The Tea Dancers - performing "El Once de Vestido Baras" or "The Dress of 11 Yards", Eighth Street Studio, Berkeley, CA
June 26: YELP's Sunset Showdown-summer event at Craneway Pavilion, Richmond, CA
Jan 15 & 16: Seven UP - Inaugural Performance featuring works by choreographer/director, Cherie Carson
Anne H, Berkeley, CA “UpSwing Aerial Dance Company-Loved the act at the end of the night.”
Michelangelo S. Sacramento, CA “But my most favorite performance at the entire event was the aerial artist group "Upswing". These ladies were extremely elegant and lovely in the way they flowed through the air and on the ground as they hovered on elegant fabric "swings". Gorgeous costuming, elegant & breathtaking choreography, it was a visual poetry for we visual participants...”
Bill B., El Cerrito, CA “The ‘Snowbirds’ aerial dance was an impressive conclusion to the event…”
"Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. My daughter truly enjoyed taking your aerial dance classes during the winter session and is very excited about the upcoming camps. I too am very impressed and pleased with the environment you've created for the girls to learn and development within. I sincerely thank you for the gift that you've given my daughter. I have seen very positive, beautiful qualities forming in her since she has joined your classes. Many thanks," Fatema Crane
"Studio 12 is exceptionally supportive of all levels of physical ability and skill. After cancer treatment five years ago, I thought I would never get on a trapeze again, but a wonderful friend gave me a gift certificate to Studio 12, which might be one of the most important gifts I have ever received. All of the teachers have been so accepting of the serious limitations I have in my leg and have helped me do things with my body that I never dreamed possible. I know that the community at Studio 12 and being able to continue my passion has helped my healing tremendously. I still have trouble walking, but at least I can fly!! Thank you so much, Cherie, Ashley, Hannah and everyone at the studio." Mary Love
"Our favorite way to play...These classes on trapezes and other low flying aerial equipment are up there at the top of my list of big fun to be had in this world! My daughters take Girls Who Fly and Kids Who Fly, and these classes truly rock and are their favorite part of the week. I love the aerial adult class and have been doing this form of movement, with great pleasure, for many years. The teachers at Studio 12 are fun, supportive, creative and kind. I can not recommend these classes more highly as a worthwhile and whimsical exploration of self which instills confidence, grace, balance, improv. and communication skills. Enjoy!" Beth Gelfand
"Cherie is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. She is very observant and always brings humor and kindness into her classes in both yoga and aerial dance. She helps everyone learn at their own level and is very supportive yet pushes people just enough that they grow and learn without becoming discouraged. She also brings a wealth of experience to her classes; this is something I appreciate greatly. I feel her classes have allowed me to learn things I would never have been able to with any other teacher. I highly recommend her!"
"I'm coming up on my first Monday without a trapeze class this summer and wanted to take this opportunity to tell you what a fabulous time I had and how pleased I was with both teachers! I'm out of shape and overweight but never felt intimidated or left behind. I always felt welcome and supported and acquired skills that I didn't think possible after the first class (which was a shock to the system but totally exciting!). I received a good amount of individual attention from both teachers and seeing as installing a trapeze in my own apartment looks impractical, I definitely plan on attending more classes. I'm thrilled to have discovered UpSwing and look forward to more trapeze time in the future!" Sarah Kurtz
"'Look at me! I’m flying!' Well, not precisely, but it feels that way. It’s the most dynamic and exciting dance partner I’ve ever had. Since I started taking aerial classes at Studio 12 Flys almost three years ago, my life has truly changed. I could go on about the amazing benefits to my back and the great development of my muscles, but the emotional and lifestyle benefits have been even greater. In our playful classes and particularly in our improv performances, I have found joy. All dance is about movement. But aerial dance literally adds an entire new dimension to your movement, bringing it from the floor up into the air. This opens up a world of extraordinary new possibilities, as well as a world of extraordinary new challenges. Finding the strength, both physical and emotional, to meet those challenges is an amazing developmental experience. The feeling of “I can do it!” encourages you to even greater feats. There is nothing like working with absolutely excellent dancers to help you become a better dancer. I’ve also been inspired by my instructors to greater accomplishments in other areas of life, such as cycling. I have never met a community of dancers who made me feel more welcome and appreciated. This is a very friendly group! Aerial dance has made an enormous difference to me, and I am proud to be part of the UpSwing Aerial Dance community. No workout will put a spring in your step like this one!" Beth Zuckerman
HUGE thanks to these folks who document dance.
Once the performance is done the images live in our minds and through these people and through their lens we relive those moments. Thank you for your photos and video work.