If “Cherish,” Dance Victoria’s annual fundraiser, were a young ballet student, it has now gotten up en pointe. After launching in 2015 at the studios on Quadra Street, which seat about 100, this year’s event will be Downtown at the historic Crystal Garden. Built in 1925, it seats 400 and offers much more space and accessibility, something all dancers—and dance supporters—can appreciate.
The entertainment at Cherish showcases both fashion and dance, with a team of local performers moving and grooving down the runway (choreography by Victoria’s own Lynda Raino) while modelling clothing from local retailers (this year’s lineup features Tulipe Noir Clothing, Hughes Clothing, and Outlooks for Men). There are light appetizers, a silent and live auction, and a complimentary beverage for each guest.
That first year of “Cherish,” Dance Victoria’s staff of four (plus volunteers) were run off their feet, handling myriad details for two annual fundraisers—spring and fall. Bernard Sauvé, DV’s general manager, says, “It was a lot of work. We decided to do one event a year, and really concentrate on that event.” Further post-mortem discussions among DV staff yielded exciting partnership ideas. “We think this event is really fantastic because it combines Women’s Transition House, a social cause, and Dance Victoria, an art cause,” Sauvé enthuses. “We know the arts make people feel better in general, and Women’s Transition House is helping the public with social issues.”
Cherish has sought out venues with greater and greater capacity, moving from DV’s studios to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, then the Fairmont. And now the Crystal Garden, part of the Victoria Conference Centre. Designed by Victoria architects Francis Rattenbury and Percy L. James, who were inspired by London’s Crystal Palace, it originally housed exotic gardens, dance floors and a saltwater pool. Sauvé feels that Crystal Garden is the ultimate venue for this fun, fashion-show-in-motion event, and that the accessible ticket price offers more opportunities for participation. “There’s more capacity for the audience, the runway will be longer…we feel that this time around, there is going to be space for people to mingle, to look at the silent auction…what we’re looking for is being comfortable, with the entire event allowing space for all of the activities.”
Dance Victoria’s mandate is to enrich Victoria’s cultural landscape by bringing an annual program of internationally acclaimed dance to the Royal Theatre, and supporting the development of new dance at its studios in Quadra Village.
Cherish is presented by Kirsty Thomson of Willow Wealth Management of Raymond James Ltd. Tickets, $85. Call 250-386-6121 or visit www.rmts.bc.ca.