A big step toward a big dream

Rendering of the new ATD lobby space.

Rendering of the new ATD lobby space.

This is a hard announcement to make, but also one that will lead to amazing new things for our company. As most of you know, my mom and I founded All That! Dance Company and Upstart Crow Studios together in 1999 and worked side by side for nearly twenty years to provide performing arts programming to our local community. A mother/daughter partnership is a unique bond and every child we worked with became part of our extended family. We moved in to the current Eugene studio location over a decade ago and every surface in this building has been changed, touched, painted, and molded into a place where our vision could take root. I feel my mom in every project, every wall, every empty space, and as a result, moving on seems a daunting task.

My mom and I had been talking for several years about the next dream for the future. The building we have been in is outdated, the landlord was not interested in making upgrades, the space is a bit of a maze, and there had been some ongoing safety concerns in the neighborhood. Several years ago we began working with a commercial real estate agent to find a new space that would move forward with us in to the next phase of our dream. All that came to a crashing halt when my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The next three years became about surgeries, chemo treatments, hospital stays, and eventually the painful process of losing my best friend, my business partner, my mom. In the wake of this, all I wanted to do was hold still. Life felt like it was quaking under my feet and I wanted to regain composure and find balance in the program we had created together. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

With the death of my mom, the direction of Upstart Crow Studios was out of her hands and mine. The organization made a decision that they no longer wanted to partner with me and I was asked to leave the building. This felt like another huge loss as Upstart Crow has been a huge part of not just my life, but of my entire family’s lives. From my husband serving on the board for over a decade, to my sister doing graphic design and social media work, my brother doing IT work, my aunt coordinating screen printing, my children all volunteering countless hours...this was a labor of love and a true family affair. It is hard to announce that neither I, nor any of my family, is affiliated in any way with Upstart Crow. This is a huge loss to our family, but we know that the legacy our mom leaves behind is not contained in one building, or by one program. Anyone who ever met my mom knows that she was a force to be reckoned with and that she spread unconditional love, support, and artistry to everyone who had the pleasure of meeting her. That will most certainly live on.

The end result of this difficult path is that Josh and I have made a huge leap of faith by purchasing a commercial property that will become the new home of All That! Dance Company. We closed on the property this past Friday. While we had hoped to have more time to make this transition, we know that our amazing families will jump on board and that this move will lead toward the next phase of not just incredible arts opportunities for our kids, but the continued bonds of community as well. We will be quickly renovating the existing 4,000 SF structure on the property to open July 8th for our summer programming. We will have three studios, all ground level, along with increased parking. The new space is located at 687 River Avenue, which is less than 5 miles from our current space, and also right off the Beltline exit. While we are excited for this first phase, it is just a quick stop on the path to our larger goal. Our long term plan includes doubling the size of the building to expand to a nearly 10,000 SF building that will house five state of the art dance studios. This will allow us to expand our offerings and continue the level of excellence you’ve come to expect from ATD.

Here are a few things we are super excited about with the new space:

  • Increased parking. No more battling for parking spots. Our new parking lot will have ample parking for parents.

  • Safety. We unfortunately dealt with a lot of the transient population in the Whiteaker area which led to multiple police calls to remove people from the property and a couple of instances of unwanted people on site in the building. Our new property is set back from the street, secure, and not in an area where we have to worry about this problem.

  • Access. Our new studio will sit just off of the freeway exit, so no more battling downtown traffic, or the train!

  • Expansion. The new site allows for expansion. We will move in with the same amount of studio space we currently enjoy and then be able to expand to nearly double the space which allows us to plan for the future.

  • Autonomy. This past year of sharing space has been difficult and we have had to move or cancel many events due to the space not being available. We will now have the ability to schedule all of our space to fit our needs and what is best for our students.

  • Viewing Space. With our new design plan, our studios will be upgraded to include viewing options in every studio, as well as a fabulous open design plan.

We are currently working with the City of Eugene, which has been its own challenge, in terms of providing site plans, submitting for permits, etcetera to get the work done. While we would like to move this forward as soon as possible, the wheels of change turn slower at the city, so we are at their mercy in terms of getting everything approved in order to start our renovation plan. We honestly can’t wait though to watch the next twenty years of ATD as we grow into this new space. Thank you so much for all of your love and support of your dancers, and us. We couldn’t do it without you.