Lori Craig Torok, co-chair for Mt. San Jacinto Community College’s Theatre Arts and Dance Department since 2000, is being honored by The City of Temecula Community Services Commission on Monday, May 14 at City Hall.
Torok was selected to be recognized for her contributions to local theater and dance.
“I feel a sense of irony with this honor,” admitted Torok. “I am the one who should thank the City of Temecula and the Old Town Temecula Community Theater, in particular, for all that they have allowed me to do.”
She was named “Dance Scholar in Residence” almost four years ago.
“Since then I have been given a new outlet, both professionally and personally, a new community, with whom to share my love and passion for performing arts,” she said.
Theater manager Bea Barnett said Torok was a logical choice for the commission to recognize for her volunteerism.
“She is kind, generous and philanthropic,” said Barnett. “She has been the find of the century for us.”
She said Torok not only invested herself in making the arts more accessible, she is committed to continue to network and make the most of her connections, talent and abilities.
“She is a valued member of our team,” said Barnett.
After the meeting, Barnett and Torok will present highlights of this past year’s events at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater. It will include details of the new dance company – Avocado Dance Theatre – which Torok has started.
The community-based modern dance company was created as an extension of the previous “Temecula Dance Intensities” which were grant funded.
“These ‘Intensities’ brought new and interesting dialogues among dancers, choreographers and audiences,” explained Torok, of Temecula. “A group of interested and passionate dance supporters came together to form a nonprofit organization called Dance Theatre Collective of Southern California whose mission it is to engage, unite and support dancers, choreographers and audiences with various performing arts events in Southern California. Avocado Dance Theatre is one of its projects.”
A spring semester sabbatical from MSJC has allowed Torok to form the collective.
The dance company members are preparing for a fully produced evening of dance on June 6 and 7 at the Old Town Temecula Community Theatre. For more information, please visit www.avocadodancetheatre.com
“Creating repertoire for a full evening of dance has been an incredible amount of effort and time but it has been a labor of love, truly,” said Torok, who also serves as artistic director for the company. “I have had the distinct privilege of being involved in developing next season’s professional dance series at the theater. Although there are other sabbatical projects I undertook during this time away from classes, this is where most of my efforts have gone.”
Another project Torok developed, which will be highlighted during her recognition, is the formation of a podcast she produces called “Inside the Dancer’s Studio.” It includes interviews, conversations, lectures and audience Q&A with dance companies that perform at the Temecula theater. Archived podcasts can be found at podcast.insidethedancersstudio.com.
Monday’s Temecula Community Services Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. in council chambers at 41000 Main St., Temecula.