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'STRUM' A vibrant dance performance celebrating the commonality between musical instruments and dancers.
57 backers pledged $4,154 to help bring this project to life.

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UPside Dance Company presents ‘Strum’ with Composer Mark Growden and Live musicians

We are UPside Dance, a fresh contemporary dance company in Northern California, USA. We are in the midst of creating a vibrant dance work called 'Strum' and we are thrilled to share this adventure with you! 

'Strum' features 12 UPside contemporary dancers performing alongside world renown composer Mark Growden, live musicians, and the Calling All Choir. Creating ‘Strum’ is a fascinating and collaborative process. What began as a study of musical instruments- inspired an entire evening dance performance! Our premier happens this Spring at SHED in Healdsburg, Northern California. 

Your contributions go towards compensation for our lovely company dancers, our composer Mark Growden and his professional musicians, as well as fund set design & costumes. 

We sincerely appreciate any amount you are able to donate to bring this project to life! 

‘Strum’ along with us! 

See more about UPside Dance Company 

or visit our Facebook page 

What is 'Strum'? 

‘Strum’ is UPside Dance's newest adventure! We are inspired by music, musical instruments, and the interaction between dancers and musicians on stage. The project focuses on the commonality of our instruments, in two very different acts. 

Act 1 'Pillar': The first act is centered around the structure and purity of music and dance with an architectural element of hanging fabric columns. Each piece is inspired by a particular musical instrument including a violin, a flute, a cello, and a metronome. We are collaborating with composer Mark Growden to learn more about the instruments themselves. We translate this into our choreography, and Mark, in turn, translates our ideas into his compositions. It’s truly fascinating to create movement in this way. 

 Act 2 'Caravan': The second act unfurls into the colorful, textured world of the traveling gypsy culture- what happens around the fire by the caravan. ‘Caravan’ is the dusty journey of a family unit, including swash-buckling matriarchs, an innocent couple finding their place in the clan, saucy sirens provoking gypsy musicians, and a ritualistic glimpse of ‘everyday gestures’. In this piece we hope to capture the underbelly of the ‘outsiders’ and discover both the joys and hardships of this culture. 

The entire work will culminate into a crescendo with the Calling all Choir, enveloping the performance space with a harmony of voices. 

Gypsy Caravan Inspiration
Gypsy Caravan Inspiration

  Our Venue: SHED acts as another character in ‘Strum’. Traditional performances are not our style, so we will be presenting this work theatre-in-the round, giving the audience an opportunity to experience dance in a new way. Each person will be close to the dancers and musicians, and see the articulation of the choreography, hear the dancer’s breath, and feel the vibrations of the live instruments. The audience will be swept up into the symphony of ‘Strum’.

Photo of our performance venue. SHED- a Modern Grange.
Photo of our performance venue. SHED- a Modern Grange.

  See More 'Strum' images, videos, and info 

Who is UPside Dance Company? 

UPside Dance Company is a fresh example of high caliber cultural enrichment in Northern California. We, Kate Ahumada and Tanya Tolmasoff, the co-directors of this unique company, are Sonoma County natives. In the past year, UPside has become known for bringing contemporary dance to unconventional spaces. Our beautiful dancers are diverse, generous, and a little bit bonkers. We are deeply honored that they so willingly volunteer and happily jump in with us. In addition to teaching regular classes, we create innovative and quality dance work. Our debut year of 2013, we presented five new performance pieces, including 'Dias', 'Frolic', '(un)tied', ‘Warriors at Home’ and 'Supernatural Soiree'.

UPside brings contemporary dance to unconventional spaces- including a Garden, a wine bar, a classroom, a slaughterhouse, a concert hall, and on the train tracks.
UPside brings contemporary dance to unconventional spaces- including a Garden, a wine bar, a classroom, a slaughterhouse, a concert hall, and on the train tracks.

 UPside Dance holds classes in Sonoma County and is proud of the diverse range of students and dancers, spanning ages 6 to 65. As UPside co-directors, we donate our time to art outreach programs at The Healdsburg School, West Side School, Windsor High School, and Santa Rosa Junior College.

UPside Creative Learning
UPside Creative Learning

We, Kate Ahumada and Tanya Tolmasoff, have danced internationally in professional performance groups throughout California, Colorado, New York City, London, and St. Petersburg, Russia. We bring our beaming optimism back to our roots in Sonoma County to share our continuous love and knowledge of dance to Northern California wine country. 

 Read What others are saying about UPside Dance 

 Who is Our Composer? We are so honored to be working with such a high-caliber contributor to the dance and music world. Mark Growden has a profound and award-winning background in creating music with such dance choreographers as Joe Goode Performance Group and Alonzo King Lines Ballet of San Francisco. Mark will be composing an original score for 'Strum' inspired by our choreography. Read More about Mark Growden and Calling All Choir  

Composer Mark Growden
Composer Mark Growden

 Donations to ‘Strum’ allow us to: Compensate our lovely company dancers, composer Mark Growden and his musicians, design original costumes, build our set, support our photographer and videographer, and create our marketing material for the performance of ‘Strum’. 

'Strum' along with us!
'Strum' along with us!

Risks and challenges

There are a number of obstacles for this project that we are ready to tackle. Mostly, we are concerned that our dancers will get curious and start playing instruments. This will be quite dangerous. We are terrible musicians! We’ll just stick to dancing...

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Thank You from the bottom of our hearts, and acknowledgement in our program and website.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    We will send you a DVD of the 'Strum' Performance and Acknowledgement in our program.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    A handmade Gypsy fortune box- each with vintage tarot card inspired by our ‘Caravan’ act in ‘Strum’, a DVD, and acknowledgement in our program.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    1 ticket to 'Strum' performance, a Handmade Gypsy fortune box, a DVD of the performance, and acknowledgement in our program.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    A limited edition art print by Jessica Martin and signed by the artist (and dancer). 1 ticket to 'Strum' performance, a Handmade Gypsy fortune box, a DVD of the performance, and acknowledgement in our program.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Private showing of 'Strum' dress rehearsal with an opportunity to meet Directors, Composer, and Dancers. (does not include travel) This reward also includes 2 tickets to performance, Gypsy fortune box, a DVD, and acknowledgment in our program.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    We will choreograph a dance movement in your honor, an invitation to our dress rehearsal and cast party (does not include travel) This reward also includes 2 tickets to performance, Gypsy fortune box, a DVD, and acknowledgment in our program.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    UPside will dedicate an entire dance piece in your honor AND host an 'Afternoon Tea Time' with Co-Directors Kate and Tanya. (does not include travel) This reward also includes 2 tickets to performance, Gypsy fortune box, a DVD, and acknowledgment in our program.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    UPside will host a private dinner for 8-10 guests with menu created by two local chefs. Find out anything you want to know about UPside, and be the first to know about our NEXT project. (does not include travel) This reward also includes dedication of an entire dance piece in your honor, 2 tickets to performance, Gypsy fortune box, a DVD, and acknowledgment in our program.

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Funding period

- (41 days)