Cherish fundraiser a toe-tapping extravaganza of dance and fashion

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WatchAfter closing for upgrades in May 2019, the Point Ellice Bridge on Bay Street will reopen to daytime two-way traffic for Monday's morning commute.

It’s not your typical fashion show.

Instead of models, professional and aspiring dancers sashay and even tap dance their way down the runway at Cherish: A Glamorous Evening of Fashion and Philanthropy.

“It’s electrifying,” says Cherish lead organizer and Dance Victoria fundraising chair Kari McLay. “I think it helps people to understand close up just how incredible dance is and to see those dancers is so interesting and different than a regular fashion show.”

This is the fourth year for Cherish, which raises money for Dance Victoria and Victoria Women’s Transition House and Dance Victoria.

“We both need to fundraise, we both bring our donors and supporters to the event and we both celebrate with the artistry of these gorgeous dancers modeling clothes down the runway,” says Susan Howard of Victoria Women’s Transition House and board president for Dance Victoria.

The dancers all donate their time and talents — whether it’s pirouetting in a pas de deux, tapping to the tempo of the music or rocking a more contemporary rhythm.

“We’re so lucky that the dancers come to us, they represent their own dance genre, and they select their own music,” Howard explains. “We’re so grateful to the artists for donating their dance.”

It’s a unique collaboration between the arts and human services that entertains, inspires and raises awareness about domestic violence.

This year’s event was dedicated to Oak Bay sisters Chloe and Aubrey Berry, who were murdered in their father’s apartment on Christmas Day 2017.

“Their passing really does represent the reality and tragedy of domestic violence and that is a very real problem in our community and all over this country,” says McLay.

It’s a poignant reminder that much more needs to be done and for the hundreds of volunteers, community champions and businesses that help support Cherish each year, it’s a big part of why they do it.

“I think it’s really important that as individuals if we’re able, to give back and I love connecting people together for something bigger than ourselves,” says McLay.

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