The Ageless Living Gala promises to be a night to remember — and one we should all consider pencilling into our calendars. The gala is a fundraiser to benefit the Canadian Diabetes Association and will be an evening filled with fine wine, good company and a gourmet meal prepared by the Fairmont Empress Hotel. All of those enticing factors aside, the entertainment component of the gala alone is a huge draw. Before guests enjoy a special performance by Kuba Oms, they will get to watch ten of Victoria’s local celebrities participate in a “Dancing with the Stars” competition.
The local dancing stars include Michael Forbes, Mayor Dean Fortin, former Mayor Alan Lowe, Ms. Canada Casar Jacobson, Tim O’Neill of the CFL, Sybil Verch, and Michael Forbes from the Ocean 98.5. Each participant has been paired with a dance instructor to learn a specific genre of dance, and the instructors will also act as the celebrities dance partners. The duos have all been practicing diligently several times each week to perfect their dance routines.
NICHE magazine popped by Studio 4 Athletics one morning to catch up with Sybil Verch and her dance partner/instructor Kevin Savage before practice. The two have been rehearsing three times a week and Verch couldn’t be more pleased to be involved with the event. She was approached by one of Ageless Living’s founders who discussed with her the plans for the expo and gala. Verch explained her immediate interest in supporting the cause, “I was like yes! No hesitation, I want in. How can I be a part of this great event?” Verch is well known in the community as a successful businesswoman, a cast member on The Hard Way, and a philanthropist. The Ageless Living team placed Verch on the dancing star roster. Luckily, it just so happens that participating in a partnered dance competition is on Verch’s bucket list, “It’s all fun, and at the end of the day I can tick this one of the bucket list!”
Verch was a dedicated dancer through her youth, practicing ballet, tap and jazz. But she’s unsure whether the structured techniques she learned in her youth have been much help, as she will be letting loose with an advanced swing routine on March 1st.
“A Dance background helps in some ways but is maybe a hindrance in others. Swing is totally different than anything I have ever done before.”
Verch explains that she is struggling with learning to follow and giving up control, but she states, “I couldn’t ask for a better partner.” Kevin Savage has been dancing swing for over 15 years and co-founded Victoria’s Red Hot Swing company in 2004. He’s got a reserved, friendly demeanour and I can see why he’d make an excellent instructor.
The two turn on a little 40’s jive music and give us a preview of what we can expect on Gala night. They hop across the floor in a series of complicated steps. Savage is effortless, and Verch is determined. She keeps up extraordinarily well. The energy of swing is joyful and it is really impossible not to smile watching them.
We finish our morning with Verch asking the obvious – what is she wearing for the big performance? Verch flashes her striking smile at us, but reveals no details. Guess we’ll have to wait for the big show.
Tickets for the The Ageless Living Expo and Gala are available for purchase online: http://www.selectyourtickets.com/ALE2014.php?venue_id=96
For more information on the event (Expo by day and Gala by night) visit http://agelesslivingexpo.ca
And here are some of the other celebrity dancers hard at work…