Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center

Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center (TWDCC) facilitates a working home for professional world & contemporary dance artists, while providing dance education that is committed to access, equity, and excellence.
TWDCC’s programming nurtures, promotes and supports professional and emerging artists from Santa Cruz and the Bay Area. While allowing traditional art forms to flourish, we encourage world and contemporary artists to take risks,  probe traditional definitions, and forge new ideas. Unique to Santa Cruz, TWDCC provides a platform for artists of color, artists using traditional structures  in contemporary performance to tell their story, and artists looking to break through established forms of presentation.  TWDCC provides ongoing community conversation; audiences have opportunities to watch, engage, and learn from performance, curated festivals, artists talks, and community dance classes.  TWDCC links artists, audiences, and community through our cultural center on the Tannery Arts Center Campus and through partnerships with civic and cultural organizations throughout Santa Cruz County.


Cat Willis—Founder, Executive Director

catCat Willis is the founder and director of the Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center. She has lived in Santa Cruz for 14 years. She is originally from Rochester, N.Y., where she began her dance education with Garth Fagan Dance, with whom she studied extensively for six years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance from SUNY Brockport. Her passion for cross cultural understanding, dance arts research, study, and performance has led her to Central America, the Caribbean, and West Africa. She has taught dance throughout Santa Cruz, including two years with Mountain Elementary School as resident choreographer. Cat serves on the Arts Council of Santa Cruz Grants Advisory Committee, the Arts Council of Santa Cruz grants panel, and was the 418 Project’s 2009 Artist in Residence and the Theatre Bay Area’s CA$H grant recipient in Dance. Cat was a featured 2014 TEDX Santa Cruz speaker and was recently nominated for The Su Job Award for Education by Artspace. Her work through her dance company, DIASPORA, has been shown throughout Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Bay Area. She received the 2015 Gail Rich Award for her work through the Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center.





TWDCC Non Discrimination Policy:

The TANNERY WORLD DANCE & CULTURAL admits all community members and students of any race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin to all of the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis  race, color, religion (including religious dress and religious grooming), sex (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, physical or mental disability, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal laws.