Originally from New York, I am an accomplished dancer, teacher and choreographer who ran
my own company, Rita Rivera & Dancers from 1983-1996. I was the founder and artistic
director of the Santa Cruz Dance Gallery from 1993-2000, the first independent dance performance center in Santa Cruz, California. I have been a guest artist at Cabrillo College
and on Theater Arts faculty at San Jose State University, University of California Santa Cruz
and Sonoma State University.
My dance training in New York was greatly influenced by dancer and choreographer Erick Hawkins. Erick was the master of natural and fluid movement and was an important voice
in the development of contemporary dance in our country. My work with Erick Hawkins lead
me to study with Andre Bernard at NY University in the early 70’s with a focus on experiential anatomy and continued studies with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, the acclaimed founder of the School of Body Mind Centering.
The opening of the Santa Cruz Dance Gallery was an exciting time for me, the dancers of my dance company and our dance community at large.
Opening the Dance Gallery at 418 Front Street was spear-headed my myself and the late Ronn Reinberg, who was instrumental with his support in creating an independent dance/performance studio in Santa Cruz.
My desire to deepen into the field of movement awareness lead me to study the Alexander Technique for several years before I entered the teachers training program, completing my certification in 1993.
I have completed certification in "Healing the Light Body" through the Four Winds Society, founded by Alberto Villoldo. The Four Winds Society is dedicated to preserving the Incan shamanic traditions by exploring the realms of the soul, of nature and ancient shamanic rites of passage. My investigation has taken
me into the high Andean mountain passes and to the shores of Lake Titicaca visiting and sitting in ceremony at sacred sites and temples with extraordinary medicine men and women.
I have completed six levels of Visionary Cranio-Sacral training through the Milne Institute in Big Sur, California with Dr. Hugh Milne.
In 1996 I traveled with Luke Chan, who is a master Chi-Lel Chigong practitioner to Qinhuagdao, China. I have received first level certification in Chi-Lel Chigong.
In 2009, I became a certified practitioner of The Reconnection Healing and The Reconnection, the work of Dr. Eric Pearl.
Photo Shoot at the Dance Gallery
before renovations began.
Restorative Movement & Dance
The Melt Method
My life long dance training and passion for the healing arts has been my foundation for developing classes that use movement and awareness to facilitate insight, transformation and integration in the Body Mind Spirit.
In 2016 I began to design and offer Restorative Movement & Dance classes and workshops. My desire for staying healthy in my body and to age gracefully became the driving force in designing classes that that would honor the body in all of its stages.
I completed the first level of the Meth Method, designed to address chronic pain.
My desire with Restorative Movement & Dance & The Melt Method is to:
Keep the body moving by exploring micro movements to pedestrian movements to extended movements
Honor the body, even with perceived limitations
Develop a keen sense of awareness about posture and how we use our body
Open up to and allow insights that support integrating our structure
Become conscious of the impact of the mind and our thinking
Discover parallels to how the mind is reflected back to us through our body
Using movement, soft & hard balls and a soft roller to re-balance our connective tissue system
This is an exciting journey for me to design these classes and I look forward to sharing this journey with you!
Breathe, be present…
"I scheduled my first sessions with Rita when my oboe teacher recommended Alexander Technique to help me with tension related problems in my oboe playing. Rita made observations, asked questions, and worked with me, with and without my instrument, to gently release unnecessary tension in my breathing, posture, and patterns of use, allowing for more freedom and expressive range. My oboe teacher confirmed the accuracy of her observations and I could feel and hear the improvement in my playing".
Lorna K., professional musician
My life long interest and passion about food and nutrition lead me to publish my first book,
"Milks Alive" 140 recipes for plant based milks from a variety of nuts and seeds.
Discover the world of vegan milks!