Rosemarie Liscum is joined by B.C.’s former Lt.-Gov. Stephen Point (left) and Mark Liscum before a performance at the Royal Theatre. The president of Ballet Victoria’s board of directors died this month at the age of 59. (Photo courtesy of Ballet Victoria)

Rosemarie Liscum is joined by B.C.’s former Lt.-Gov. Stephen Point (left) and Mark Liscum before a performance at the Royal Theatre. The president of Ballet Victoria’s board of directors died this month at the age of 59. (Photo courtesy of Ballet Victoria)

Rosemarie Liscum remembered as dedicated, instrumental builder of Victoria Ballet

The president of the ballet company’s board of directors died at the age of 59

Ballet Victoria is honouring a champion of the arts who was instrumental in building the dance company and whose unmatched dedication ensured its success and impact on the community.

Rosemarie Liscum, 59, president of the ballet company’s board of directors, died earlier this month after living through her third cancer diagnosis.

Paul Destrooper, Ballet Victoria’s artistic and executive director, first met Liscum over 35 years ago when they were both young dancers.

“She was absolutely passionate about the art form of ballet,” he said.

The company really started to develop when Liscum first joined as the board’s president in 2008, he said. She was a fundraising force who had an amazing way of getting people excited about the ballet.

“She was incredible at connecting with the community, with different patrons of the art, with people who love ballet, with businesses,” Destrooper said.

He’s eternally grateful for the work Liscum did to grow the company and empower dancers with higher wages and endless support. Whether it was a major performance or a small community event, one constant was that Liscum would be there to watch the group she held so dear.

“She was just such an amazing person with so much empathy and understood how hard the dancers work,” Destrooper said.

And when she wasn’t helping build Ballet Victoria itself, Liscum was expanding the company’s positive outreach in the community – whether it was introducing school kids to ballet or running performances for seniors, who may be more isolated from enjoying the arts as they age, through the company’s Tea for Tutu program.

“She was always instrumental for all of these programs,” he said, adding that Liscum championed putting gender and cultural diversity at the forefront of her endeavours.

Although many people have helped the ballet get to where it is today, Destrooper said Liscum was the thread who brought everyone together.

Outside of the ballet, Liscum was also involved in putting on the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Visions gala and the Women of Distinction awards.

Liscum overcame two previous cancer diagnoses over the last 20 years. Destrooper said it was Liscum’s passion for dance that kept her going through her most recent diagnosis. She watched every one of the company’s taped performances and made every virtual board meeting since her cancer returned last spring.

Even with the cancer attacking her spine and motor skills, she still chaired last month’s board meeting.

“I hope we’ll have more champions in the community like her,” Destrooper said. “She worked hard, but I know that it gave her as much as she gave.”

Ballet Victoria will be creating a legacy fund in Liscum’s memory that people can donate to. The fund will benefit one local dancer or artist through dance award or scholarship every year.

READ: North Saanich school plants a seed in the fight against climate change

Victoria

Just Posted

It takes much more than having talent as a singer or musician to pull off a live performance people will remember, says Sooke resident Jason Parsons. (Pixabay.com)
Vancouver Islander writes the book on live performances

Jason Parsons’ new book unlocks the keys to establishing a presence on stage

VIU’s ‘Portal’ magazine is turning 30 years old. (Image courtesy Chantelle Calitz)
Vancouver Island University’s literary magazine ‘Portal’ celebrates 30 years

Virtual launch featuring contributor readings took place April 30

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Saanich author Hannalora Leavitt hopes her new book, This Disability Experience, helps to dispel the ‘otherness’ that often surrounds people with disabilities. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Vancouver Island author demystifying disability and dismantling otherness

Hannalora Leavitt, who lives with a visual impairment, wants to change how people look at disability

The organizers of the annual 39 days of July festival hope to return to live shows in Charles Hoey Park this year, like in this photo taken in 2019, but audiences at the show may be limited to 50 people due to health protocols. (File photo)
39 Days of July hoping to stage outdoor events in Duncan this summer

Annual music festival will run from June 25 to Aug. 2 this year

Members of A Cappella Plus rehearse for a ’60s-themed concert in 2019. This year the group is celebrating its 40th anniversary. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo’s A Cappella Plus chorus marks 40 years with short documentary

Film covers group’s history, features performance and behind-the-scenes video

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Most Read