A local dance group at the Tucson Mall is launching a new project to help middle schoolers understand and learn about childhood sexual abuse.

Esperanza Dance Project has been using dance and music to teach high schoolers about abuse since 2011. Now, they’re starting Project RISE to reach younger students.

Founder Beth Braun started the group after her own daughter was abused. “I felt like I needed to do something,” Braun said.

The new project aims to tackle the stigma and confusion surrounding abuse. “It doesnt happen behind closed doors, and its not a rare occurrence, its so common,” said co-choreographer Darrell Wilmore. Then you start to realize that it affects all different walks of life.

Braun wanted to raise awareness in a different way.

Movement is so communicative as humans and people feel things watching live dance that theyre not even aware of, said Braun.

The first Project RISE performance is on April 7th, featuring five dancers with new moves at the Jewish Community Center.