The Esperanza Dance Project is a community-based collaboration that uses a multimedia dance performance to educate about the issue of childhood sexual violence and deliver a message of hope, strength and empowerment.
Our mission is to eradicate stigma, secrecy and shame associated with surviving
childhood sexual violence.
The Esperanza Dance Project's vision is that all high school students in Arizona learn to recognize warning signs associated with sexual abuse, feel comfortable discussing it openly and compassionately, and become familiar with local resources for support.
To address childhood sexual violence through dance, music, spoken word and visual art/film in a way that empowers teens.
To provide tools for discussion and understanding through a study guide, written by behavioral health professionals.
To provide local information about ongoing peer advocacy and support connections in the community.
What we do and why we do it
EDP presents school assemblies for high school students. Once EDP is booked for a performance, the Director works with the contact at the school to determine the best possible performance space. Flexibility in terms of space for the performance is available: EDP has performed in cafeterias, black box theaters, meeting rooms, and a variety of other unconventional spaces.
Every student who attends receives a personal copy of our educational curriculum. This curriculum is designed to give teachers, counselors and other school staff members a platform to initiate a discussion about the impact of sexual violence and the healing process with students.
The curriculum was developed by professionals from the Tucson community in the areas of education, high school counseling, dance, language arts, and behavioral health. Read the curriculum here.
The dancers, who are trained in the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault's Community Prevention Education and Outreach Program, facilitate discussions about the performance and the corresponding curriculum after each performance. The performance, entitled "House of Hope" runs about 45 minutes.
The objective of Esperanza Dance Project is to:
Raise awareness about childhood sexual violence
Teach skills to support the survivor
Impart information about local resources for support
Inspire hope for healing
The Esperanza Dance Project was created in 2011 to raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual violence and subsequent trauma, as well as provide practical resources for those who identify with, or know someone who identifies with, these experiences.
By using a mix of media, including dance, music, live poetry and visual art, the Project has developed a high school assembly entitled "House of Hope," to give high school students an accessible way of understanding sexual violence as it relates to their everyday lives.
The project identifies tools for students to use in the event that they, or someone they know, experience sexual violence.
Ultimately, the goal of the Project is to breathe hope and courage into the lives of those who have experienced the trauma of sexual violence.