Dance Theatre Collective of Southern California,
Board of Directors:
Lori Craig Torok, President
Lori Craig Torok is Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Theatre Arts & Dance on the Menifee Valley Campus of Mt. San Jacinto College, in Southern California. She is a member of SDC—Society of Directors and Choreographers and has been a member of AGVA—American Guild of Variety Artists for over eighteen years. She has directed or choreographed over 40 plays, musicals, and revues at various levels of theatre—educational, community, stock, regional, and equity.
Favorite directing credits include The Laramie Project, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Tommy, Crazy for You, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Sweeney Todd, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Cherry Orchard, Galileo, and Beckett’s Company. Favorite choreographic credits include Evita, West Side Story, Damn Yankees, The Robber Bridegroom (directed by Mary Porter-Hall), George M!, Cabaret, Anything Goes,Pippin, and Syd Rushing’s Brothers Tellin’, part of a one- man show festival in LA, with Lily Tomlin. A singer-dancer-actress from NYC, Lori has well over 50 performance credits to her name. Favorites include the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes (’93-96), The Joffrey Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet (Joffrey II), Anything Goes (with Debbie Shapiro-Gravitte), Oklahoma! (performing the original Agnes DeMille choreography under the direction of Gemze DeLappe), and being a featured dancer/back-up singer for Susan Anton in a Radio City National Tour, directed by the late Joe Layton, Bobby Longbottom, and Maurice Hines.
Lori holds a degree in English Education, with a theatre concentration, from Niagara University and a Master of Arts from the State University of New York at Brockport, where she studied Dance Composition with Garth Fagan, Susannah Newman, and Jim Payton. Lori was the Director of Musical Theatre at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (’96-99); there, she also founded and directed the Avocado Movement Theatre company where she created a full-length movement theatre piece entitled Atoms & Eaves and Other Stories of Creation among other works.
Locally, in the Inland Empire, she directed/choreographed South Pacific at the Ramona Bowl (2004), wrote/co-directed the Menifee Dance Company’s production of The Nutcracker Swing (2005), and she wrote/directed/choreographed the world premiere of Experiment in a Glass (2010), a movement theatre piece, using the poetry of Tennessee Williams.
Lori is the founding director and producer of the Menifee Lab Theatre at Mt. San Jacinto College. She is also the Dance Scholar-in-Residence at the Old Town Temecula Community Theatre. She periodically writes for the Los Angeles Examiner (Examiner.com) as the Temecula Performing Arts Examiner, and she produces a podcast of dance interviews/lectures, “Inside the Dancer’s Studio.” As a professional teaching artist, Lori is currently heading the development of a non-profit organization, “Dance Theatre Collective of Southern California,” to support performing arts education and emerging artists in the Inland Empire and surrounding areas.
Aaron Shaw, Vice-President/Secretary
Aaron Shaw is currently seeking his Masters of Fine Arts Degree at the University of Utah in Modern Dance and is pleased to continue supporting and encouraging art in the Southern California region.
Aaron’s own artistic training began in the Temecula area where he was raised. He worked with several companies in the area including Christian Youth Theater and the Temecula Playhouse and graduated from Mt. San Jacinto College with an A.S. in Business Administration where he also studied dance under Lori Torok.
Aaron graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in Dance in 2010. During his time at BYU he travelled the world performing and choreographing. He performed with The Dancers’ Company, Kinnect, DancEnsemble as well as with their folk dance program all over the US including in New York, all over the Midwest and the Southwest. He has also had the opportunity to perform and have his choreography showcased in the Czech Republic, China, India, Jamaica and Mexico.
Aside from opportunities within the university setting Aaron has also choreographed for the Utah Regional Ballet, San Diego Dance Theater’s Young Choreographer’s Showcase and for Avocado Dance Theatre.
Aaron was grateful to have the opportunities to perform with San Diego Dance Theater, California Ballet and Avocado Dance Theatre for a brief time after graduating from BYU.
Awards Aaron has received include MSJC’s Greatest Contribution to the Performing Arts, Distinguished Graduating Senior from BYU and Founding Member Honor from Avocado Dance Theater. He has also been the recipient of numerous grants and scholarships not only in his undergraduate and graduate education but also to study with Doug Varone in New York. Aaron has also been honored by having his choreography placed on a gala-performance in ACDFA.
Aaron’s commitment to dance has found him involved in several professional organizations including National Dance Education Organization and dance and the Child international as well as others.
Aaron is proud to serve as a board member for the Dance Theatre Collective of Southern California.
Winston Earle, Treasurer
Winston Earle is a retired Marine Corps Officer with an MBA and over fifteen years involvement in the fine arts. He had performed in movies, musicals, straight and Shakespearean stage productions and has also dabble in directing films and plays. He currently serves as the President of the Board for the Fine Arts Network Theater Company and fills the role of Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Avocado Dance Theatre Collective. Winston is happy to be a part of an organization that provides the opportunity for dancers of all styles to express themselves fully through this art form.
It was in a community ballet dance class in her home town of Covina California where Robin first experienced the beauty of dance. In middle and high school, Robin discovered Musical Theater and her passion for the performing arts was ignited. Robin went on to receive her A. A. in Music from Citrus College and her B.A. in Dance from Cal. State Long Beach. As a music major at Citrus College, Robin toured Europe and Hawaii first as a member of the world renowned Citrus Singers, and then as one of its choreographers. During her time at Cal. State Long Beach, Robin served as Artistic Director and founder for the dance company Efface. After graduating with high honors from Cal. State Long Beach, Robin went on to U.C.L .A as a graduate student studying Dance Therapy.
In the years following her education at U.C.L.A., Robin took time off to raise her three children and was a home school mom who encouraged her children in the appreciation, exploration and love for the arts. During these years, Robin ran her own dance and voice studio and worked for Christian Youth Theater as a dance teacher as well as a choreographer. In 1998, she won the Inland Valley award for best choreographer for her work on Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.
When her children were assimilated into the public school system, Robin became an advocate for the arts and served as the dance coordinator for the after school program at Terra Cotta Middle School, the dance coach at Lakeside High School and an Associate Faculty member at Mt. San Jacinto where she was awarded Associate Faculty of the Year in 2005. At Lakeside High School, Robin served as a long term substitute teacher for the dance department and produced and choreographed the spring dance concert. She also choreographed the school’s production of CATS.
It was at Lakeside where Robin decided to pursue her teaching credential and in 2008, she took a job at Centennial High School as dance and choir director. In the years at Centennial, Robin grew the dance department from one class to three and both her dance team and Madrigal Choir went on to compete and receive awards.
In 2010, Robin was offered a job with River Springs Charter School in Temecula teaching theater and dance to students in grades K-12. Taking an intermodal approach to art education, Robin has seen her students grow in their art expression. By incorporating imagination, play and improvisation into the art process, Robin continues to see her students grow which has produced in her students deeply creative and moving works of art.
A dance educator for over 30 years, Robin has worked and sought to inspire dancers from a myriad of ages and abilities. She has taught dance at the elementary, middle, high school, college and professional levels. She is also an advocate for arts in schools and is presently working on a professional diploma in Expressive Arts Therapy at the Expressive Arts Institute in San Diego.
A dance educator for over 30 years, Robin has worked and sought to inspire dancers from a myriad of ages and abilities. She has taught dance at the elementary, middle, high school, college and professional levels and served as Artistic Director and founder for the dance company Efface as well as running her own dance and voice studio.
Robin served as a dance coach for Lakeside High School and in the same year.
I was born and raised in Eastern Pennsylvania not far from Valley Forge. Childhood was good and I was able to start college at Penn State U. for one year. After some time sowing oats I returned as a married man to Wayne State U. in Detroit where I earned a BS degree in Physics.
Always able to find work, albeit all over the country, I managed to raise three children born successively in New York, Ohio and California. My four grandchildren were born in California and I enjoy, along with my ex-wife, frequent and happy family gatherings with all of them, a rarity in our mobile age.
Professionally I was always employed as a development engineer lately in the fields of air pollution instrumentation and physiological measurements. If daily driving rather long commutes can be called fun; I enjoyed my career work. In addition to good wages I had the distinction of being recognized 5 times as inventor by the US Patent Office.
I am comfortably retired due to some judicious real estate decisions and have spent the better part of it as a board member and president of an environmental non-profit. That activity has been largely abated due to successful accomplishment of its mission of preventing the construction of transmission lines in the Cleveland National Forest.
I read a lot and am kept too busy to have use for a TV set, although my possessions do include well used gardening tools, a wheelbarrow and a full compliment of workbench tools. I spend one or two days a week enjoying club dance (the kids – under 55 – think it’s a hoot) and in my past knew the 64 basic square dance calls as well as quite a few Greek folk dances. In one way or another dance has been important to me going on 6 decades.
I have recently been impressed by my inner response to sympathetic kinesthesia only fully realized a few years ago at a performance of Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet in San Francisco. I have since stepped up my attendance at these type’s of performances and am augmenting the experience by extensive reading about contemporary dance (or modern, or the spirit of movement, or the art of dance, or what have you) and its choreography. In brief I am a dance enthusiast.
Some of my inner workings can be attributed to influences by Henry David Thoreau, Socrates, Albert Einstein, Jesus of Nazareth, Carlos Casteneda, Charles Darwin, Vincent van Gogh and Isadora Duncan. I am poor at language but if given the task of knowing all of the world’s people it would be through their art, technology, music, dance, food and festivities.
Written on the passage of the year from 2013 to 2014.
I love the performing arts! I originally got my degree from UC Berkeley in Psychology and thought I might become a therapist but ended up providing therapy through entertainment. My theatre career began with being an original cast member of the San Francisco production of Hair. I have worked for over 30 years in the performing arts as an actress, director, producer, voice over artist, recording artist, script editor and now a teacher at Mt San Jacinto College. I have a great deal of experience in the theater having performed in 5 shows on Broadway including Jesus Christ Superstar, Timbuktu, Tricks and the Tony Award winning Ain’t Misbehavin, 13 shows on London’s West End (the British version of Broadway) including playing Grisbela in Cats, Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors, Lady Thiang in The King and I, Madame de La Grande Bouche in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Belle in Starlight Express, Stella in Follies, Mrs Crosby in The Goodbye Girl, Eve in the original production of Children of Eden and Clemma in the British premier of Neil Simon’s Proposals.
I have toured the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand performing in theater shows and singing with music groups like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and artists like Barry Manilow. As a recording artist in my own right, I was a platinum selling artist for BMG / RCA records touring and performing on TV in various European markets. I have had the privilege of working in many Theaters and Concert Halls around the world including Gala Performances for royalty.
In addition I have had leading roles in two British Television series, The Tomorrow People and Bugs; A Leading Role in a British TV Film, A Christmas Carol supporting parts in 2 feature films and a US Television series. I served as the Managing Director of Rising Roots Productions, a British nonprofit theater production company where I produced the critically acclaimed musical Inner City Jam and a Charity Gala performance that included acts from 21 countries.
I am a two time Inland Theatre League Award winner, one of them being the Founder’s Award for my performance as Bloody Mary in South Pacific and the other for my direction of the MSJC production of Little Shop of Horrors. I also won the British Advertising Award for Best Musical and Vocal Performance.
Currently, apart from being the new Artistic Director for the Fine Arts Network I am on the Board of Directors for the Dance Theatre Collective of Southern California – an exciting and innovative initiative for the development of dance and theater culture.
I was born and raised in the Inland Empire and I am happy to be coming full circle and bringing my Broadway and West End experience back home.