Cat Willis

Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center



Cat Willis is the founder and director of the Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center. She has lived in Santa Cruz for over 13 years. She is originally from Rochester, N.Y., where she was encouraged from a small age to express herself through the arts. She began her formal 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 has served on the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz Grants Advisory Committee, the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz grants panel, SC Fringe Festival Advisory Board, and was the 418 Project’s 2009 Artist in Residence and the Theatre Bay Area’s CA$H grant recipient in Dance. Her work through her dance company, DIASPORA, has been shown throughout Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Bay Area.