Breaking the silence and stigma surrounding childhood sexual trauma takes courage and creativity, and Beth Braun has found a unique way to achieve this through the healing power of dance.

This weekend, a significant event is set to take place on Tucson’s Northside as the Esperanza Dance Project aims to inspire hope, awareness, and healing through the art of dance.

Established in 2011 by Beth Braun, the Esperanza Dance Project has a deeply personal origin for her. Braun founded the project after discovering that her daughter had been a victim of sexual abuse. Speaking about the mission of the project, Braun emphasized the importance of creating a safe and supportive space for survivors to share their stories:

“Creating a space where people feel comfortable enough to be able to, you know, stand up and say this happened to me, and they know that they are going to be believed.”

Braun, a former high school dance teacher, turned her passion for dance into a powerful form for healing and expression. She described dance as an outlet to convey messages through beautiful movements, as well as moments of intense emotion: “Dance is such a great way to express, to send messages out to the world through beautiful movement, or sometimes not so beautiful movement.”

The performers of the Esperanza Dance Project pour their emotions into their performances, addressing the heavy topic of childhood sexual trauma. Gabi West, one of the project’s performers, highlighted the impact their performances have on the audience.

“The people in our audience feel like, wow, I feel seen; I feel understood,” says West.

Braun explained that they focus on expressing the feelings and emotions to which survivors of sexual abuse and trauma can deeply relate.

The performers, however, do not just train physically but also mentally to bring their powerful performances to life. Tadeo Valdez Celaya, another performer, noted the emotional intensity of their training, stating, “Its always a whirlwind of emotions, although I would’ve never say I associate it with anger; that’s probably the one feeling I’ve never really felt.”

Each year, the Esperanza Dance Project brings their message of hope and awareness to high schools and colleges through their performances. Their commitment to shedding light on the issue is unwavering.

This Saturday, the Esperanza Dance Project is hosting “House of Hope” fundraiser at 4500 N. Oracle Rd., providing an opportunity for the public to witness the performances and support the cause.

Queen Underwood, an author, sexual abuse survivor, and the first US Olympian female boxer, will be the guest speaker at the event. The suggested donation is $17.

More details can be found on their website.