"THE CHOREOGRAPHY IS BRILLIANT. THE STUDENT NARRATION WAS A GREAT IDEA AND THE MUSIC WAS MOST APPROPRIATE. YOUR AUDIENCE REALLY RELATED TO THE PIECE... THE STUDY GUIDES PROVIDED VALUABLE INFORMATION."
-Joan Ashcraft, Ph.D., Tucson Unified School District Director of Fine and Performing Arts/Opening Minds through the Arts
"THE ESPERANZA EXPERIENCE IS PROFOUND FOR ALL STUDENTS: PERFORMERS AND AUDIENCES ALIKE. ALL INCREASE THEIR LEVEL OF COMPASSION FOR AND THEIR ABILITY TO SUPPORT THE EMPOWERMENT OF SURVIVORS AND COME AWAY WITH TOOLS FOR HELPING VICTIMS OWN THE FACT THAT IT WAS NOT THEIR FAULT."
-Kirsten Cook, MA, LPC, retired counselor, University High School
“THE AUDIENCE ASKED SUCH INSIGHTFUL QUESTIONS: ‘HOW CAN WE BE ALLIES TO SOMEONE WHO HAS SUFFERED CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ASSAULT?’ ‘HOW DO WE TALK TO OUR FRIENDS ABOUT THIS?’ ‘WHAT DO WE DO WHEN WE KNOW SOMEONE WHO MIGHT BE SUICIDAL?’ I WAS SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY THAT WE GOT PEOPLE TALKING, AND EVERYONE IN THE AUDITORIUM SEEMED TO BE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN WHAT WAS BEING DISCUSSED. I FELT VERY HUMBLED THAT DAY.”
-Nic Varela, dancer
“IDENTITY AND PERSONAL BOUNDARIES, ABUSE AND HARASSMENT, ADDICTION AND TRANSFORMATION, HOPE AND HEALING WERE NOT GENERALLY TOPICS OF DISCUSSION OVERHEARD IN THE CAFETERIA AT LUNCH. ESPERANZA CHALLENGED AUDIENCE MEMBERS TO ENGAGE, NOT RUN AWAY FROM, THESE IMPORTANT TOPICS … THE ESPERANZA DANCE PROJECT BRINGS HONESTY, HUMAN CONNECTION AND A SENSE OF PURPOSE TO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AT A TIME WHEN THEY NEED IT THE MOST. MY EXPERIENCE WITH ESPERANZA WAS TRANSFORMATIVE – BUT I AM JUST ONE OF MANY WHO HAVE BEEN TOUCHED, STRETCHED AND MOVED BY THE ESPERANZA DANCE PROJECT.”
–Allyson Yoder, alumna
“MY HEART FELT LIKE IT TOOK A HIT FROM A BAT, AND TEARS WELLED UP IN MY EYES AS A SMILE BEGAN TO GROW ON MY FACE. MY DANCING HAD CHANGED THIS STUDENT'S LIFE, AND CONVINCED THEM THAT THEIR LIFE IS WORTH LIVING. AT THAT VERY MOMENT, I KNEW THAT WHAT I WAS DOING WAS IMPORTANT. FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE, DANCING HAD ONLY BEEN THERE TO MAKE ME HAPPY, BUT NOW, IT IS THERE TO MAKE OTHERS HAPPY.”
–Zoe DeFalco, dancer
"MY NAME IS PANCHO CHAPARRO AND I AM A DANCER WITH THE ESPERANZA DANCE PROJECT. TO BE A PART OF ESPERANZA MEANS NOT BEING AFRAID TO SPEAK UP IN THE MIDST OF SILENCE. TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE UNSPOKEN WRONGDOINGS. TO SEE THE OVERLOOKED, AND CARE FOR THE UNCARED FOR. USING DANCE AS OUR MEDIUM, ESPERANZA IS BRAVE ENOUGH TO TALK ABOUT WHAT COULD BE CONSIDERED 'TABOO' SUBJECTS. AND BEING A PART OF ESPERANZA MEANS TO ME THAT I SHOULD BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SPEAK UP TOO."
–Pancho Chaparro, dancer
During each performance, blank notecards are handed out to all audience members. The audience are encouraged to write something down anonymously on the notecard some time during the performance. Questions, concerns and comments are then collected and addressed in the discussion following the performance. This is a compilation of some of the recent notes collected.
The words at the beginning of the dance really display the mood of the whole dance. The repetition shows that they are all going through the same thing and they all try to help each other."
Thank you for inspiring me to help others. I hope you guys continue to inspire more people.
The dance and poetic narrator brought me to tears. I thought I was alone all the time. Thank you for impacting lives in a positive way.
The Esperanza Dance Company is something I haven't seen before and it was amazing!
Thank you for making me feel.
I like how in the beginning they did different movements and expressed their own story.
I like how they are narrating like if it was a story.
I like how they have different movements, they have background.