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UpSwing Aerial Dance Company

"Because it's fun to do the impossible!"


UpSwing Aerial Dance Company

"Because it's fun to do the impossible!"

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A Destination

"Best Way to Learn How to Fly" SF Weekly's 'Best of the Bay of 2006'

Upswing Aerial Classes on of the "Top 5 exclusive classes to take This Summer 2015" -

UpSwing classes are featured in “Your 2019 Workout Horoscope: The Best New Exercises to Try in the Bay Area.”

Listed in 2019 Oct issue of Diablo Magazine as one of five events not to miss.


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 & students.

We specialize in merging dance with rope & harness, low flying trapeze (Motivity Trapeze), slings, bungees, and tissu. We have 4 teaching dancers/aerialists on faculty, and 3 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.

Our mission is to inspire and share our love of original, aerial dance and that the idea of aerial dance can be extended to reveal human imagination, our relationship to each other and to one's inner self. Creative expression and safety are our two core values in our classes and performances.



UpSwing Company

UpSwing is a contemporary aerial dance company that features the repertory of Artistic Director Cherie Carson. The Company has been presented nationally in Atlanta, New York, Seattle & Houston and San Francisco.

UpSwing Community

UpSwing offers opportunities for students to take classes from the Company as well as nationally recognized choreographers and teachers. We also teach workshops across the US including Atlanta, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Seattle and Santa Barbara.

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ALL classes, workshops and most performances are held at Studio 12 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, performing & teaching to audiences and students in Atlanta, GA; New York, NY;  Seattle, WA;  Santa Barbara, Sacramento and San Francisco, CA;  and San Antonio, Austin and Houston, TX.

Cherie Carson

Cherie performing "Kiting"

Cherie performing "Kiting"

Artistic Director

Cherie Carson is a contemporary choreographer, dancer, aerialist, teacher, & 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.  In 1998, Cherie performed to sold-out houses at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Upon arriving in the Bay Area in 2000, Cherie studied with Terry Sendgraff and in 2005 she took over Terry's Aerial Dance business.  She has performed and studied with 30+ national & international dance makers including Molissa Fenley, Merce Cunningham, Bebe Miller, Tanztheater Rubato, Bridgeman-Packer Dance, Douglas Nielson and Dwight Shelton.  Upon arriving in the Bay Area in 2000, Cherie studied and taught workshops with Terry Sendgraff.  She has choreographed dances that have been 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, tissu, slings, rope & harness and invented equipment.  Cherie has created more than 40 aerial pieces for herself, UpSwing Company & other companies and individual artists.  

"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."

Kirstin Brown

Company Dancer

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 joined the UpSwing company in 2015 as part of her continuing dance studies:  "The next step in my dancing career is to get off the floor, and into the air!."  

Karin Auch Photography

Karin Auch Photography

Helen fitanides

Rehearsal director/ Company Dancer/Teacher

Helen Fitanides 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! She has a degree in marine biology and works in the environmental field when not flying.  


Hannah Dworkin

Adjunct Teacher/advisory committee/Company Dancer on leave

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. 


Elizabeth Scotten

Company Dancer/Adjunct Teacher

Elizabeth Scotten is a middle school teacher and project based learning expert who integrates the arts with academics. She is a graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz, where she majored in Community Studies, and holds a teaching credential and Masters in Education Leadership from Mills College. 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 has been dancing with UpSwing since its inception. “Aerial dance is more meditative and more expressive for me than gymnastics or circus skills,” Scotten says. “The artistry is more of a challenge, and that’s what I love about it.” Elizabeth looks forward to one day introducing her baby daughter, Elliot, to aerial dance.

Alissa Kaplan Soto

Company Dancer/Adjunct Teacher/Visual Artist

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 in New York, where she performed with Julie Ludwick’s Fly-by-Night Dance Theater.  As an artist, Alissa works in many mediums such as, painting, printmaking, and fiber arts. Her artistic style can be seen in her choreographic work as she melds her fine art to movement. Alissa holds a B.F.A. in Ceramics and an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Hunter College. She is a working artist and teacher.

Helium valentine


Company Dancer/ Teacher Girls Who Fly

One doesn't choose to be a dancer, they are born one.  Helium began dancing from the time she could walk.  She had a few formal years of ballet in Atlanta as a young child which she learned key points of alignment and safety that she kept with her the rest of her life.  She was introduced to modern in her teens, tried ballet again in college, but chose improv and modern to earn her minor in Dance along the a History degree at Oberlin College.
She danced in LA in a modern dance company and for agencies for many years.  She thought yoga was her calling and completed a Teacher Training, but it was aerial dance that became the path she had to take when she took her first class in 2009.  In 2013 she completed a 10 month aerial professional training at Frequent Flyers in Boulder, Colorado.  She moved to the Bay Area in 2014 where she now trains, teaches and performs.  When she is not doing aerial, she cross trains with Muay Thai and yoga.  




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. 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

Rigger for UpSwing Company

Richard Kittle has worked throughout the Bay Area with aerialists and aerial companies including Bandaloop and Kim Epifano. He has been rigging for UpSwing shows since 2005.

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Our Donors

Our Donors

Thank you for keeping us on the UpSwing!



Angel Cakes, David Chee-Reverse Mortgage, Community Bank of the Bay, Ruth Stroup Insurance Agency, Phoenix Aerial Art and Pole, Glass Dharma, Classic Cars West,  Venn Acupuncture, Nishi Kaigan Iaido Dojo, Dr. Suzie Lee Chiropractor and Indigo Yoga & Pilates Studio


Assemble Restaurant, Back To Life Wellness Center, Berkeley Moving Arts, David Chee Reverse Mortgage, Buddy Club, Conscious Realty, Chef Pascal, Clif Bar and Co., GoPro, GlassDharma, Monkey Business Camp, Mays Cleaners, Mays Flowers, Namaste Yoga & Wellness Studios, Powell's Sweet Shoppe, Phoenix Aerial Art and Pole, Ruth Stroup Insurance Agency, Sur La Table, Vee Horticulture, Studio 12, Tequila Jorongo, Wente Wines, 8th Street Studio and Sanctuary Bistro.



Donors ($1-$29)

Sue Arendt, Larry Abel, Jessica Allard, Jennifer Ames, Arielle, Jerilyn Bedingfield, Blair, Ruth Botchin, Erica Bowman, Judy Boe, Budinger and Scarpelli, Amy Calhoun, Jennifer Conroy, Chris Crane, Ashley Dawn, Aryanna Downey, Samantha Farbman, Helen Fitanides, Jonathan Greenwood, Annie Groeninger, Kevin Hamilton, Summers Henderson, Jessie Johnson, Jade, Barbara & Barry Kaplan, Fran Katsuranis, Kevin Keller, James Kennedy, Claire Lavery, Patrick Leaper, Laylabu, Jay Marlette, Margaret Mulligan, Bet Muth, Daryn Nakhuda, Nancy Ng, Jordan K Paul, Lynn Pfaender, Marsha Quick, Linda Riccardi, Deborah Sanborn,  Noreen Sanders, Laura Schatzkin, Mark Segura, Lisa Smeraldi, Debra S, Theron Shaw, Tom Spach, Catherine Stern, Marcy Straw, Blanka Soltys, Bernie Talerico, Kate Tanaka, Penny Taylor, Ruby Thomas, Jessika Vermette, Beth & Eric Zuckerman

UpSwing Trekkers ($30-$49)

Dan Bornstein, Anne Capelli, J. Tanner Cusick, Micki Duxbury, Linda Elkin, Daniel Evans & Jennifer Pesek, Ashley Foster, Flux Foundation, Susan Godes, Steffan Haithcox, Jessie Johnson, Janet Kaplan, Carla Koopal, Evangel King, Linda Lamerdin, Kimberly Markison, Mark Pasley, Spencer Perry, Rachna Ram, Mark Ray, Roy Anthony Shabla, Tom Spach, Annie Stine, Yolanda Vasquez

UpSwing Foothold Donors ($50-$99)

Dr. Jan Alden, Jason Anderson, Karta Purkh-Atehortua, Vanessa Berkmark, Deborah Cavanaugh, Ian Ellison, Brian Estlin, Molissa Fenley, Robin Gaskins, Karin Golde, Vicki Gunter & Peter Brown, Ralph Hamilton, Marilyn Haithcox, Sabine Jeske, John Kane, Bhavneet Kaveeshar,  Nancy Leatzow, Gillian Leslie,Deena Levy, Joe Lutz,  Luxzia, Heather Mitchell, Bob Larsen and Linda Mauskopf, Margaret Medina, Sabra Melamed, Mona Meline, Leah Miller-Freeman,  Sana Noble, Anne Ogonowski, Daniel Perlman, Sanctuary for the Arts, Debra Sanborn, Noreen Sanders, Katherine Sardinha, Sue Schroeder, Ashvin Shah, Amy Sheridan, Alissa Soto, Kevin Stamps, Susan Stubbs, Sara Stutz,  Sola Takahashi, Tara, Celeste Vasti,  Cara Zeisloft

UpSwing Action Donors ($100-$199)

Anonymous, Teri Angst, Annie Archbold, Cindy Lopez/Azure Salon, Dina Basile, Sarah Bowman, Marion and Ruth Carson, Jim Chappelow, David Chee, Jeffry and Bonnie Cohen, Community Bank of the Bay, Mark Crow, Sara Garabedian, Anya Goldstein, Kevin Haithcox, Sandra Hughes, Anita Kahn, Bina Jangda, Lisa Jones, Vanessa Kuemmerle and Lee Steinmetz, Anne Lowry, Robert MacGowan, Leah Mann & Ela Lamblin (Lelavision), Paul Milne & Shana Penn, Marlene Mujicafill, Rosanna Poret, Todd Pritchett, Matt Proud, Mark Ray, Allen and Karen Ronquillo, Douglas Scott & Marcelo Roman, Elizabeth and Sean Scotten, Deena Smith, Declan Spring, Diana and Denise Steinhagen, Sandra Tillin, Phil Trapkin, Andrea Weiner, Sue Carol Witt, Eric Wong, Ron Wong and Mike Tekulski

UpSwing Flyers ($200-$499)

Mrs. Raymond Beeley, Claire Bach, Lauren Carley, Michael Costello, Hannah Dworkin, Barbara Hendrickson, Leah Mann & Ela Lamblin of Lelavision, Linda Riccardi, Sandi Walker Scharf

UpSwing GuardianS ($500-$999)

Andrea Gordon, Dr. Suzie Vlcek Lee, Elena Ronquillo

UpSwing Angel ($1000+)

Anonymous, Barbara Barnett, East Bay Community Foundation, Sarah Kurtz, Sandy Marcello and Salvador & Sophie Marcello, Regina Myers, Mary Ware

InKind Donations

#GoPro, Kim Adams, Roya Arasteh, Hadas Aranow, Jim Beatty, Dan Cantrell, Andrej Diamantstein, Sara Draper, Hannah Dworkin, Helen Fitanides, Ashley Foster, Suzanne Gallo, Beth Gelfand, Mindy Ha, Kiran Haithcox, Judith Justiz, Bina Jangda, Bhavneet Kaveeshar, Vanessa Kuemmerle and Vee Horticulture, Carla Koopal, Bryan Kato, Elaine Lee, Robert MacGowan, Brent McCullough, Okorie, Rondi Phillips, Alissa Soto, Catherine Trowbridge, Yolanda Vasquez, Claudia Venn and Venn Acupuncture, Suzie Vlcek-Lee, Sydney Walker, Judy Wenning, Isabella Wilk, David Worm


Kirstin Brown, Beth Gelfand, Rondi Phillips, Peggy Mulligan and Elena Ronquillo

Rehearsing "Chandelier" at American Steel Gallery

Rehearsing "Chandelier" at American Steel Gallery

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Current Repertory

Current Repertory

Origin of Happiness

Origin of Happiness

Falling Stars

Falling Stars



How Much Longer / Photo Andy Mogg

How Much Longer / Photo Andy Mogg





Inside the Circle

Inside the Circle





Split Focus

Split Focus

Current UpSwing Repertory

Origin of Happiness

Created in 2017, this is a duet on one rope, using a pulley to balance and counter balance the relationship between the dancers.  A nerve once believed to sustain the heart, heart string is a place of connection. A thread that is plucked and pulled, stretches and binds, touched it opens the heart.


falling stars

Created in 2017 for 4 dancers on rope and harness performing on a wall. It is a dance that explores the relationships between stars,  the notion that consciousness extends across the universe. 



Created in 2016, this work is a 45 minute aerial dance piece for 6 dancers. "The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea."   - Isak Dinesen


Winter Dreams

Created in 2015 as a 30 minute work on and off the floor. Includes 10 dancers, 2 musicians and 1 vocalist.



Sina (Moon Goddess), solo on Lyra. Sina resides within the moon itself, and is the protector of those who might travel at night. She paddled her magical canoe to the moon and was struck by the moon's tranquil beauty and decided to stay.



Created 2015, Dryads (Tree Spirits), Group dance on and off 3 tissu


How Much Longer

 Created in 2015 as a duet on 2 tissu to Lauren Carley singing "Wie Lange Noch" song by Kurt Weill 


Outpost Series: Longing

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


Slightly Cracked

Also created in 2008, “Slightly Cracked” is a humorous solo which involves a raw egg while dancing on a sling


Inside the Circle 

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


Carried Away

Solo on single point trapeze



Created in 2005 is a trio piece on 3 ropes



Created in 2001, is an aerial dance on bungee cord


Split Focus

Created in 2001, first performed at St. James Church, SF, CA, site-specific solo using light to create large shadow play


El Vestido de Once Baras or The Dress of Eleven Yards 

Created in 1997, first performed at the Klein Fall Fest, Lake Worth, FL; solo performed in a very large dress


Past performances

Past performances


June 15: Bay Area Dancers Showcase, East Bay Performing Arts Center UpSwing ADC guest company, 8PM

MAY 1: What's Up!? Performance, Studio 12, 2525 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA 7PM

UpSwing Aerial Dance Company & students take flight on May 1 in a one hour FREE studio showing that explores the magic of dancing on the floor and into the air.  We will be dancing on the wall, in the air and everywhere in between.   Celebrate National Dance Week with the boundary-pushing art of contemporary aerial dance.  Register at


Dec 19: Teens Who Fly Aerial Showcase, Studio 12

DIVE, FLY, SPIN into this holiday season. Wind your way through the whimsical, mystical and fun aerial showcase created just for you by the Teens Who Fly. UpSwing's teens will be performing their own work, plus the work of Kate Hutchinson and Cherie Carson. They will float into your hearts in this pre-holiday show.

UpSwing is a place for fostering a creative lifestyle; a place where students can learn, gain physical and emotional strength and be inventive as they explore their physical limits. This showcase brings together our Teens vision and passion in their own choreography.

Nov 3: Fundraiser for Hopalong Animal Rescue, OLD MILL PARK AMPHITHEATRE, MILL VALLEY

Join UpSwing and Aerial Dance Marin performers, San Francisco Conservatory musicians and plenty of adoptable pets Saturday, November 3rd for a magical afternoon of awe-inspiring aerial dance, adorable dogs and uplifting music in the redwoods. All donations support local nonprofit Hopalong Animal Rescue in their work to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals into loving homes.

Tickets are a suggested donation of $25 and up for adults, $10 for youth, and free for 5 and under. No paper tickets will be issued. We will have a list of names at the event. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket for sitting in the park.


12 (noon) to 10 pm ....many shows to choose from

The Bay Area’s only festival with a focus on aerial artistry, bringing regional, national and international established and emerging artists for three days of action-packed performances, panels and workshops. An explosion of creativity has reinvented aerial performance. A new generation of artists bursting with innovative imagination and extraordinary skills have given birth to one of the most incredible and visceral art forms of the 21st century. 

Artists from a broad spectrum of backgrounds are re-imagining, re-shaping and re-inventing what has traditionally been the province of circus alone. A breathtaking array of new performers with influences that range from Balanchine to Burning Man are stunning audiences around the world. We aim to bring that explosive energy together in a sensational festival unlike any other. 

Line up includes: Acrobatic Conundrum; Alex Allan; Azraa Muhammad & Meléa Emunah;  BANDALOOP, Beth Clarke, Caroline Wright & Xochitl Sosa; Felicity Hesed;  Helen Wicks and Katelyn Hane; Jessica Curl Rose & Andrea Keene; Kameko Shibata; Sierra Camille; Sonya Smith & Bianca Cabrera; UpSwing Aerial Dance Company and Veronica Blair

MAY 2: What's Up!? Performance, Studio 12, 2525 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA

UpSwing Aerial Dance Company & students take flight on May 2 in a one hour FREE studio showing that explores the magic of dancing on the floor and into the air.  We will be dancing on the wall, in the air and everywhere in between.   Celebrate National Dance Week with the boundary-pushing art of contemporary aerial dance. 

Feb 14: RED, Love is in the Air,  STUDIO 12, 2525 Eighth Street, Berkeley

Celebrating Valentines Day with this one of a kind aerial performance pairing the award winning Rainy Day Chocolates with UpSwing's most loved aerial dances. Bay Area premier of "Origin of Happiness" - two dancers explore their relationship with, for and through each other as the discover just how much they are literally attached to each other.  This intimate performance includes the pairing of handcrafted, award winning chocolate truffles and treats especially paired to each dance. Your tix includes a box of chocolates to enjoy during the show. UpSwing Company dancers performing in this evening event are Alissa Soto, Helium Valentine, Helen Fitanides, and Kirstin Brown. 


Dec 21:  SOLSTICE!, Studio 12, 2525 Eighth Street, Berkeley

“Solstice!” is an East Bay favorite holiday alternative since 2005. Produced every other year, this is the 7th production.  “Solstice!” celebrates the longest night of the year with music and dance by some of the Bay Area’s finest performers.  This year enter into a winter’s night, complete with dancing stars, a moon goddess and snowbirds. Aerialists performing in this show are UpSwing Company members Kirstin Brown, Helen Fitanides, Alissa Kaplan Soto, Helium Valentine and the Teens Who Fly.  Experience the tour de force music of Mark Vickness’ intricate, layered guitars and David Worm’s soaring, blues-inflected vocals (Glass House), Amar Singh Khalsa’s magical flute, Sahib Amar Kaur Khalsa’s deeply moving viola and Dan Cantrell’s virtuosic abilities on the accordion and musical saw.  Critic's Choice in Dec 2017 issue of The East Bay Monthly


Join UpSwing from 5–7 PM for the cocktail hour.  Enjoy delicious comfort food by Hella Vegan Eats and an outside beer garden featuring craft beer on tap, photo booth, an art exhibition and amazing classic cars along add on the music of Dave Worm and the aerial dance of UpSwing and you have a cocktail hour like no other. This is sure to be a night to expand the senses. UpSwing will host a fundraising raffle of gift certificates from Bay Area vegan restaurants during this 5-7 PM cocktail hour. Dave Worm and Mark Vickness of Glass House will perform music at 5:30 PM.  UpSwing’s aerial performance begins at 6 PM.

JUNE 14: IMPROV NIGHT at Studio 12, 2525 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA  7-9PM   FREE Bring a dish to share at the Pot Luck dinner afterwards
7th Annual show of UpSwing Aerial Dancers working alongside with OneVoice Circle Singers and Bay Area musicians to create a show in the moment in front of the audience.

APRIL 26: OPEN REHEARSAL & RECEPTION AT Studio 12, 2525 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA    8:30-9:30PM  FREE UpSwing Company shares insights and performances of newest work in this intimate studio showing. 

APRIL 20: 25 POINTS OF VIEW: A PEEK INTO DANCE-MAKING at 605 Addison St, Berkeley, CA An exciting day of dance and creative process featuring 25 local choreographers in celebration of Luna Dance Institute's 25th anniversary,  offering a peek into dance-making and the fundamental value of creativity.  more details to follow..

MARCH 18:  "POP UP" PERFORMANCE UpSwing's Teens Who Fly perform at Luna Dance Institute's Silver Jubilee Dance Party, March 18th, 8-11pm at the David Brower Center, Berkeley.  Seniors Moriah Godes and UpSwing Company dancer, Helen Fitanides, dance in 2 original aerial pieces during the "pop up" performances between 8-10 PM. For tickets go here  



DEC 9:  2ND FRIDAY NIGHT ART PARTY AT THE SAWTOOTH..UPSWING SITE SPECIFIC IN THE GRAND HALL  It's winter, enter an atmospheric world. 7-8 PM performance by UpSwing Company in the Grand Hall at the historic Sawtooth Building, 2525 Eighth Street. Art ~ Music ~ Aerial Dance ~ Live Music ~ Mingle ~ Explore the Sawtooth Building on the 2nd Friday evening of the month as artist open their doors and share their work.   FREE event

NOV 4: COCKTAILS, AERIAL DANCE & KILLER VIEWS  Assemble restaurant & UpSwing Aerial Dance Company team up for a magical night, Friday Nov. 4th, 2016 from 4:30-7 PM.  Located at 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond, CA 94804, is a unique setting with beautiful and inclusive views of the entire Bay Area. Upswing will perform newest work in progress and offering an opportunity for you to hear what inspired the dance.  Friday Nov 4th, experience the sweeping vistas that extend from the East Bay Hills to the city of San Francisco as we assemble for this one of a kind special benefit for Upswing. The Richmond shipyards take us to the land’s end. Cocktails, small bites, sunset views over the water give a perfect setting for UpSwing’s "Teardrops". 

AUGUST 19-21: SAN FRANCISCO AERIAL ARTS FESTIVAL  UpSwing Company performs in the San Francisco Aerial Arts Festival, Bay Area’s premiere aerial arts event, featuring internationally recognized aerial artists and exciting new artists breaking into the field. Performance is at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture’s Gallery 308 on August 19 and 20, 2016.  Produced by Zaccho Dance Theatre, this biennial festival brings together spectacle, daring athleticism and poetry to create a dynamic three day performance event.

AUGUST 17: IMPROV NIGHT   7-8 PM - POT LUCK AFTER6th Annual show of UpSwing Aerial Dancers working alongside with OneVoice Circle Singers and Bay Area musicians to create a show in the moment in front of the audience.  UpSwing Company & students improvise together with One Voice Circle Singers and musicians Dan Cantrell & Gary Muzinski. FREE EVENT, BRING A DISH TO SHARE

APRIL 24: FREE PERFORMANCE AS PART OF "DANCE-A-RAMA" 4-5 PM @ STUDIO 12  UpSwing Company and students perform in "Dance-A-Rama" as part of a FREE performance in celebration of Bay Area Celebrates National Dance Week.  Choreography by Jennifer "Jem" Alvarado, Kirstin Brown, Ashley Foster and Artistic Director Cherie Carson.


Dec 19-21:  SOLSTICE! at STUDIO 12, 2525 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA  “Solstice!” is an East Bay favorite holiday alternative since 2005. Produced every other year, this is the 6th production.  “Solstice!” celebrates the longest night of the year with music and dance by some of the Bay Area’s finest performers, and includes a Solstice-inspired visual arts installation by Alissa Kaplan-Soto.  Enter into a winter wonderland with tree spirits, a moon goddess and snowbirds. Experience the music of Dave Worm and Mark Vickness (Glass House) and Amar Singh Khalsa & Sahib Amar Kaur Khalsa. And see the holiday inspired Teens Who Fly dance their L-O-V-E of the holiday!

NOV 14:  VALLEY FIRE BENEFIT PERFORMANCE  at San Rafael Gymnastics, 139 Carlos Dr, San Rafael, CA raising $$ for victims of the Valley Fire in Lake and Napa counties) 

August 12: IMPROV NIGHT UpSwing Company & students improvise aerial dance to the improvised music of One Voice Circle Singers and musicians Amar and Sahib Amar Khalsa.

May 3: DANCE A RAMA UpSwing performs with UpSwing students as part of a FREE performance in celebration of Bay Area Celebrates National Dance Week.


DECEMBER 6: WINTER MOON Rockabelly and The Playthings present a winter show, with guest artists Ego Embra, Upswing Aerial Dance Company, and special guest artists. This event combines belly dance, aerial, and pole!

August 13: IMPROV NIGHT UpSwing Company & students improvise aerial dance to the improvised music of One Voice Circle Singers and musicians Amar and Sahib Amar Khalsa.

July 18-26:  Festival of Aerial Arts at Vault Houston - Upswing invited as guest performers and led "Dynamic Duo" workshop 

July 9:  Send-off Cocktail Party for UpSwing Company, wine & cheese, showing of dance and wine raffle. Fundriaser for UpSwing Company performance at Houston Festival of Arts July 18, 19th and workshop on the 20th.

April 27: DANCE A RAMA UpSwing performs "Inside the Circle", 8th Street Studios, Berkeley 2-3 PM as part of a FREE performance in celebration of Bay Area Celebrates National Dance Week.

April 26: WHAT'S UP!  Performing in the show…Kirstin Brown, Helen Dickson, Katherine Sardinha, Beth Zuckerman, Teens Who Fly, UpSwing Company.  FREE performance in celebration of Natl. Dance Week.

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 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




About the Company

UpSwing Aerial Dance & Company is a nonprofit arts company administered as a 501 © (3) nonprofit under the Dancers' Group's Fiscal Sponsorship Program.

Dancers' Group
44 Gough Street #201
San Francisco, California 94103
Phone: 415-920-9181
EIN: 94-2879185


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…”

About the Classes

Parents comments....

"Girls Who Fly and Teens Who Fly has been an important piece of the pie in my girls' childhood and young womanhood.  You have added to both of my girl's sense of poise and confidence and have been a safe port during the stormy seas of adolescence.  Keep up the good work - you and your program are making a difference in young people's lives, and creating beautiful art to boot!"   Sara Stutz

"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

Student Comments...

"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



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Photo and video credit

Photo and video credit

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.



Julie Bernstein

Jeff Dunnicliff

Seth Golub

Fred Hatt

Bryan Kato

Liquidpulp Photography

Elena Ronquillo

Suzanne Steel

Kaleb Wyman

Amy El

A.K. Sandhu

Andy Mogg

Katrin Auch