About The 418 Project


Laura Bishop Executive Director
Office hours by appointment: Tues/Thurs 10:00am-4:00pm

Madeline Rose Community Development Coordinator

Margo Chrisholm Bookkeeper

Doug Snyder Facilities Manager


Stan Grindstaff Board President

Mark Schneider Secretary

Gabrielle Adelman Treasurer

Jeanette Bent

Timothy Duncan

Langdon Roberts

Armand Ruby

Our Story

The 418 Project, a non-profit Movement Arts Center, was founded by modern dancer Rita Rivera in 1993 as the Santa Cruz Dance Gallery.  This was relatively shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake when downtown Santa Cruz, which was devastated by the temblor, was still recovering and rebuilding. Economic considerations led Rita to share the studio with both the African Dance and Capoeira (Brazilian Dance/Martial Arts) communities, and that is how the organization took on its role as Santa Cruz’s movement arts melting pot. The 418 presently serves 1,000 people weekly who attend our classes, performances and workshops, and enjoy our cafe, India Joze.

Due partly to our eclectic programming and partly to our location in the heart of downtown, 418 Project attracts a mixture of avant-garde dancers and artists as well as children and adults of all ages who are interested in the inner experience of dance.  Although 418 is home to a variety of emerging and cutting edge dance and performance forms including Contact Improv, Aerial Dance and Axis Syllabus, we don’t believe you need a degree in theatre or dance to create expressive, meaningful movement art.  In addition to our technique classes, we offer awareness-based classes like Qi Gong and Ecstatic Dance, and freestyle to lightly guided jams such as our Tuesday Contact Jam and Inner Rhythm.  We are the home of Dance Church, the now venerable epicenter of community free-form dance, which attracts up to one hundred people of all experience levels weekly.

From its inception as The Santa Cruz Dance Gallery in 1993 to today’s role as a hub for self-discovery and artistic development, The 418 Project has become the holder of a moving legacy in Downtown Santa Cruz. 

Here are some of the ways we give back to our community…

Dance Church fiscal sponsor: Since 2001 Dance Church has invited people of all ages, backgrounds and faiths to join in a communal, spiritual gathering based on ecstatic dance and has been a generous supporter of The 418 Project.