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Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center

Organization Mission

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.

For 11 years, our commitment to equity is reflected in our leadership, the diverse artists we employ, the youth we serve, our community partners, and our programming. We are an anchor for:

1) healthy classes (dance, fitness, mental health and wellness, and Covid-safe partnership and programming with SC County Health/Parks);
2) resources (we reallocate funding from grants to students and families in need, and to artists);
3) community engagement (free community events, partnerships and events with other local nonprofits and cultural arts organizations, sponsorship of local initiatives/events/projects)

The Big Idea 2023:
Access, Equity, Excellence 2023

We’d like your support to host a dance festival for countywide youth led by a faculty of high-caliber BIPOC dance professionals from around the world.

Many of our local BIPOC youth avoid school programs and extracurricular activities in spite of their interest and passion due to racism — both blatant and incessant microagressions — that they experience. We understand that the lack of Black and Brown teachers, mentors, and leaders in Santa Cruz plays a significant role in this. Representation is vital to shift who and what is considered valued, especially for our youth who have the potential to create deep change.

Our goal for this festival is to support, inspire, and elevate BIPOC youth dancers and to expose non-BIPOC youth dancers to high-powered BIPOC professionals, mentors, and educators. We aim to present inspiring, thought-provoking performances while diversifying who and what is considered valued in dance creation, presentation, education, and preservation; and to engage and deepen Santa Cruz county’s BIPOC presence and resilience.

Another goal of ours is to continue providing a thriving dance and cultural space that supports local professional artists of the African Diaspora who have left their country of origin or have immigrant experiences that inform their work directly by offering free/affordable dance space to teach, professional development support in the form of grant writing, and performance and curation opportunities thus allowing a new generation of students to carry forward their work.

In Santa Cruz, you don't see many Black/mixed-race kids; but when I'm at the studio and see so many around me that look like me, it helps me feel at home and helps me feel safe. In society, I see all these rich, White successful people, but I don't see many who are like me represented in a positive way. When I see amazing, powerful women like Micha, Cat, and Angela [TWDCC Directors/founder] it's inspirational and makes me feel like I can achieve that some day.

Eva Diop, 15-year-old TWDCC dancer + 7-year scholarship recipient