Two lovers dance a ‘never-ending goodbye’ before husband heads to war

Nanaimo - Gala 2 Live event raising money for the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation.

Paul DeStrooper

Paul DeStrooper

Two lovers cling to each other.

It’s painful to part. They embrace, caress, and push away but then rush back into each others’ arms because there is still one more moment before they must separate.

The husband is going to war, leaving his wife behind. She must remain while he risks his life on the front lines. Yet, in this moment there is an eternity of goodbyes within their grasp.

Initially the two are indistinguishable from each other – a formless shape behind an illuminated screen. Then they begin to move.

One form becomes two and a sensual and romantic dance begins.

The story, Reign of Love, is being performed by dancers Ivana Ho and Paul DeStrooper during the second annual Gala 2 Live fundraiser Saturday (Nov. 3).

“We do a duet that is romantic and sensual, but has moments where we say goodbye and pull back. It’s like a never-ending goodbye,” said DeStrooper. “We use a lot of tension.”

DeStrooper has been the artistic director of Ballet Victoria since 2007. He is a graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School professional division and has performed with various ballet organizations over the years including Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Alberta Ballet and the Oregon Ballet Theatre.

The two dancers created the piece specifically for the fundraiser.

The gala evening is raising money for the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation to purchase equipment for the new emergency department.

Last year the event raised $5,000 for cancer research and support programs in central Vancouver Island.

Ho co-organized the gala with Wendy Wearne. Last year, she noticed part of Bailey Studio was lying empty between theatre performances. She decided it would be a great space to host a gala to showcase Vancouver Island talent and raise money for Island charities.

This year’s gala at the Bailey Studio, located at 2373 Rosstown Rd., starting at 6:30 p.m. The evening features singer songwriter Melissa Hill, Lorna McLellan, a Nanaimo actress and singer, and guest dancer Paul DeStrooper as well as other local performers. The evening includes a silent auction.

Ho said Hill is a “great singer.” Hill, who earned a music degree from UBC, is trained in both classical and jazz piano. She has performed at numerous shows overseas and has done several radio and TV appearances. The Nanaimo based musician, was born in Vancouver.

For the finale performers are dressing up as patients and doctors to perform a musical theatre number, complete with wheelchairs, scrubs and crutches.

Gala 2 Live is Saturday (Nov. 3), 6:30 p.m. at the Bailey Studio, located at 2373 Rosstown Rd. Tickets are $30 and are available at

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