Lori Craig Torok (artistic director / DTC president)
Lori Craig Torok is a member of SDC—Society of Directors and Choreographers and has been a member of AGVA—American Guild of Variety Artists for over twenty 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 Lilly 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. Lori was Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre Arts & Dance at Mt. San Jacinto College, Menifee Campus (2000 – 2014), where she was the founding director and producer of the Menifee Lab Theatre.
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); she wrote/directed/choreographed the world premiere of Experiment in a Glass (2010), a movement theatre piece, using the poetry of Tennessee Williams. In 2013, Lori directed and choreographed the MSJC/Fine Arts Network production of Pippin at Old Town Temecula Community Theater.
Lori is the Dance Scholar-in-Residence at the Old Town Temecula. Lori is the President of Dance Theatre Collective of Southern California and Artistic Director/Choreographer of Avocado Dance Theatre. She produces and hosts the monthly showcase danceXchange, sponsored by Temecula Presents, and produces a podcast of dance interviews/lectures, “Inside the Dancer’s Studio.” Lori is a Reiki Master Teacher/Sound Healing Practitioner at Eloia Healing Arts and is the owner of the Temecula Reiki Center.
Aaron Shaw (resident choreographer / DTC vice-president)
Aaron Shaw is a native of Temecula. He began his dance training locally at Mt. San Jacinto Community College. After completing his associate’s degree there at MSJC he attended Brigham Young University where he received his B.A. in Dance. While attending BYU Aaron had the opportunity to perform and tour with several different companies. Aaron had the opportunity to travel around the world including much of the US, Mexico, China, Jamaica and Europe. Since returning to California Aaron has had the opportunity to work, study and perform with Jean Isaac’s San Diego Dance Theater. He is excited to also be working with Avocado Dance Theater and California Ballet. Aaron has branched out from performance and has begun choreographing. One of his pieces was performed at ACDFA where it was placed in the gala performance. This piece has been performed by multiple companies since then. Aaron has also had the opportunity to choreograph for Snow College, Utah Regional Ballet and recently San Diego Dance Theater’s Young Choreographers Project. Aaron was a founding member of Avocado Dance Theatre in 2012, is Vice-President/Secretary of the Dance Theatre Collective of Southern California’s Board of Directors. Aaron re-joined the company for the 2015-16 season, in the role of Co-Artistic Director, after studying/working in New York City (2013-2015). Aaron has choreographed numerous works for Avocado Dance Theatre repertory: “All in a Day” (2012), “The Game” (2013), “The Game, part IV” (2014), “On Your Sleeve” (2015), “Sweet Dreams” (2016), “Raven” (2016), “Almost Human” (2016), and “Calcul(us)” (2018).
Shauna Tyser (choreographer)
Shauna Tyser graduated Magna Cum Laude, with her BFA in dance performance and choreography from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and was the 2007 recipient of the Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities for excellence in dance. In the past she has performed with Philadanco II (Philadelphia), Contempra Dance Theater (Philadelphia), Opera Company of Philadelphia, Colette Harding Contemporary Dance Company (San Diego), Mojalet Dance Collective (San Diego), “Trolley Dances” with Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater, isadoraNOW (San Diego) and as a guest for commercial work with the PGK Dance Project (San Diego). She holds a certificate from the Teaching Artist Institute of San Diego, and has taught dance programs at private studios and public schools on the East and West Coast, as well as, internationally in Mumbai, India. Her choreography has been presented at the 2016 San Diego International Fringe Festival, danceXchange, she was a 2017 finalist for the San Diego Young Choreographers Showcase and Prize, and for the 2017/2018 season of Avocado Dance Theatre, whom has been a member of since 2016. Currently she is also co-coordinator of danceXchange, and the Front and Main Dance Festival, is dance faculty at Encore Performing Arts High School in Riverside, and she is working towards her MS. in Nonprofit Management/ Social Media and Online Communications from Northeastern University.
Shauna choreographed “To That Which We Do Not Speak Of,” which premiered in the 2017/18 Avocado season.
Joseph Lister (choreographer)
Joseph Lister began dancing in 2010 at the age of 19. He started with his home church’s dance ministry where he was a part of the hip-hop and praise hula dance team. Soon after he found himself at Murrieta Dance Studio where he continued training in hip hop and was introduced to the contemporary style of dance. In the Fall of 2010 he attended California State University, Channel Islands and enrolled in a jazz technique course. He then fully realized his love and passion for dance and became a candidate for a B.A. in Performing Arts with an emphasis in dance. He began training in jazz, choreography, and modern under the instruction of Heather Castillo. During his time at CSUCI (2010-2012) he has had the opportunity to choreograph for the University’s first Spring Dance Concert (2012) and was cast in the University’s first musical, Cabaret (2012), as a cabaret dancer. In the Spring of 2011 he was introduced to ballet when he was approached to be a part of Inland Valley Classical Ballet Theatre’s first contemporary ballet, Passion of the Christ, where he danced the part of Pontius Pilate as well as other roles. He decided to continue dancing with the company and was in many other performances including Cinderella , The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Once Upon a Tutu. In the Summer of 2011 Joseph performed in his first musical at Act One Community Theater in Temecula as a chorus dancer in A Chorus Line. He is a Dance major at the University of California, Riverside and will graduate in 2015.
Joseph choreographed “A[r]mour” for Avocado Dance Theatre, which premiered in the 2015 season and “Name Branding” in 2016/17.
Alexandra Thomsen-Wolfe (choreographer)
Alexandra Thomsen began dancing in studios in Vancouver, B.C., Canada studying ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and Polynesian dance. After moving to California in 2000, she continued her training in ballet, jazz, and hip-hop at various studios. In 2010, Alexandra graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with her BA in Liberal Studies for elementary education and a Minor in Dance. While attending college, she danced with the Cal Poly Orchesis Dance Company and began training in modern. She had the opportunity to choreograph for the company, was an Arts Intern, and won two Cal Poly Scholarships: the Tomczak-Carter Dance Award and the M Minn/P Suhr Dance Award. She also danced with Variable Velocity Performance Group, a modern dance company, in San Luis Obispo under the direction of Diana Stanton and Jude Clark-Warnisher. Alexandra worked as a Director as well as Dance Instructor for Rhythm Motion, a company that teaches dance classes as part of after school programs for typical and special needs children. She was a student choreographer at Irvine Valley College for two years and two pieces she choreographed there were performed at the ACDFA Festivals in Northfield, Minnesota (2011) and Salt Lake City, Utah (2012).
Alex was a founding member of Avocado Dance Theatre, where she was a featured dancer with the company, and worked as an assistant rehearsal director for two years.
Alex has choreographed two pieces for Avocado Dance Theatre: “I, For One” (2012) and “Three Women” (2013).
Kym De Los Reyes (choreographer)
Kym De Los Reyes is a professional teacher/choreographer with over 24 years of dance/ entertainment experience. Kym holds a B.F.A. from California State University Long Beach. She’s trained in jazz, hip-hop, ballet and modern at several colleges and private institutions all over Southern California, including the Edge Performing Arts Center, Steven Peck’s Dance Studio and Jimmy De Fore’s Dance Center. Although her first love is concert work, her career has taken her down many different dance paths.
Kym grew up dancing at Dansations studio in La County under the direction of Maggi and Tami Helms. Kym was a member of the CSULB Dance Team under the direction of Rey Lozano. She also was a dancer and cast member for Disney for three years. Throughout her career as a commercial professional dancer, Kym has danced for the Statue of Liberty’s Opening Ceremonies in New York, the 1988 Olympic festivals in L.A. and the Pro Bowl halftime show with NSYNC in Honolulu HI. She has danced as far away as Japan, Taiwan and the Bahamas for various events and tours. Kym danced as a member of the L.A. Clipper Spirit Dance Team under the direction of Kari O’Leary for three years and still choreographs for many NBA and NFL Dance Teams.
Most recently Kym choreographed for the Boston Celtics Dance team, she has choreographed for the L.A. Clippers, the San Diego Chargers, the San Francisco 49’ers, the Orlando Magic and the Sacramento Kings.
As a former Bobby Ball Client, her television credits include; ABC’s Monday Night Live with, Disney, Fox’s Network, and Carl’s Jr. (Carl Karcher Enterprises).
Kym teaches for many different facets in the dance community. She has taught Master Classes for Universal Dance Association, U.S. Spiritleaders, and United Spirit Association. She also served as a Head Instructor and in Program Development for the United Sprit Association Jazz and Song staff. She is actively choreographing national winning numbers for high school dance teams throughout Southern California. Kym served as the coach for the USC Trojan Dance Force for a year and recently has been back to choreograph at the University.
Kym currently serves as a dance adjudicator for several companies. She travels to teach at dance studios throughout the United States. Some of the her students have gone to work with BLOC and MSA agencies, DDO talent, the Lakers and Clipper Girls, Disney Productions, Off- Broadway productions and Professional dance companies throughout The United States.
She is going on her eleventh year teaching at her home studio of Temecula Dance Company under the ownership of Ed and Lani Morel and the direction of Jimmy Peters. She teaches technique and choreographs for the company members, training up and coming professional dancers. Her competition numbers for TDC have won many choreography awards and national titles. She loves the students and enjoys watching them grow. She is passionate for her work and strives to be the best version of herself for those around her. Her mission in her career is to inspire and cultivate young emerging artists.
Kym choreographed “Heights Wuthering” (2013) for Avocado Dance Theatre.
Tennille Lambert (choreographer)
Tennille Lambert spent her early years folk dancing at Arts and Crafts and County Fairs in Birmingham, Alabama. Much later she received a B.A. in Theatre and a M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from Florida State University. Tennille’s choreographic work has been presented at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Dance Theatre Workshop, Galapagos Art Space, Movement Research, The Merce Cunningham Studio, The Cool New York Dance Festival, The Tank NYC, and most recently at the West End Theater. She has been invited into The Bessie Schonberg Lab for Choreographers at DTW and was an Artist in Residence at The Field NYC. Tennille received an Emerging Artist Grant from the Puffin Foundation and was a 2011 Choreographic Fellow at Summer Stages Dance Festival in Concord, M.A. Tennille formed The Ugly Company in 2005 as a platform for her off-the-beaten-path creative style and is currently invested in creating choreographic work for both performance and film. Tennille resides in New York, with her husband and son.
Tennille was a founding member of the Board of Directors for Dance Theatre Collective of Southern California (2011-2012) and has choreographed two works for Avocado Dance Theatre: “Crash” (2012) and “Petit Allegro” (2013). Tennille also appeared as a guest dancer in the 2014 “A-Scent Between Stream and Consciousness.”
Amanda Rose Shind (choreographer)
Amanda Rose Shind began studying dance in Massachusetts at the age of three and has never stopped! Growing up, she took classes from many fabulous teachers all over the northeast in the styles of ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and modern and continued her dance education at Emerson College in Boston. While at Emerson, Amanda developed a love for modern dance and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Theatre. She also completed the dance education training course with the Dance Teachers Club of Boston receiving the overall excellence award in Tap. After teaching and choreographing at numerous dance studios and public schools in the Greater Boston area, Amanda made the move out west where she began working with mobile dance studio Petite Feet dance and fitness. She continues to share her love of dance with preschool and elementary aged children all over the Inland Empire. Amanda is beyond excited to be a part of the Avocado family!
Amanda choreographed “Our Everyday Myth” for Avocado Dance Theatre, which premiered in 2016.
Crystal Sepulveda (choreographer)
Crystal Sepúlveda graduated from the University of California, Riverside, with an M.F.A. in Experimental Choreography in June of 2012. Presently, she is an Associate Faculty in the Dance Department at Mt. San Jacinto College where she teaches dance technique courses for majors and non-majors. Sepúlveda is additionally the Guest Artist for the Dance Dept. at MSJC this year. Her choreographic work was performed by students in the Dance Dept. for the Faculty Dance Concert 2014. Sepúlveda is honored to be an Artistic Collaborator for Avocado Dance Theatre. Sepúlveda’s choreographic work is informed by collaboration and improvisational practices/processes that experiment with possibility and presence in/for performance. Her choreographic work has been presented at various venues and institutions including CUNY Graduate Center Department of Music (New York City), Highways Performance Space (Santa Monica), Milkbar (Oakland) Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts (Riverside), Chez Buskwick Studio (Brooklyn), homeLA and The Bootleg Theater (Los Angeles), UC Irvine, University Art Gallery (Irvine) Studio1415 and Excello Dance Space (Miami).
Crystal choreographed “Scan,” for Avocado Dance Theatre, which premiered in the 2014/15 season.
Bill Strawn (lighting designer)
The son of a career Air Force man, I figured out early on that I was not cut out for the usual jobs being offered out in the world and figured there must be some way I could make my love of movies and music work in my favor.
After moving from California to Spain, my father’s last move in the military, I landed a job at the local Base Theater learning the ins and outs of Motion Picture Projection and became the only dependent to receive his military projectionist license.
Upon leaving Spain in 1976 and moving back to the states, armed with my projectionist license, I figured I’d be able to get a job showing movies at the local theater. My (then) dream job.
This was not to be.
As it was explained to me by the local President of the Projectionists Union, theaters were all going automated and there wasn’t that many jobs to be had however the city had just built a 13,000 seat arena and was in desperate need of stage hands, was I interested?
Hmm, “I get to watch and listen to my favorite bands and get paid? Let me think.”
I signed up immediately.
Through this job, I met many people in the industry, learning the various aspects of the business and eventually landed a job in Nashville doing the lighting for a number of country artists.
Eventually, I moved back to California and worked for a number of lighting companies and spent the next several years on the road, working on a number of high profile tours in Rock, Country and Broadway.
Tiring of the road, I left it in 1993 to take a job with Andy Williams at his theater in Branson Missouri.
But the travelling bug bit me again and in 1996 took to the road again.
I hung up my travelling shoes, for good this time, after a six and a half year stint on the road with the Irish dance show Riverdance.
Moving, once again to California and settling in Temecula, I landed the job of Technical Director at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater where have been enjoying life ever since.
Shawna Sarnowski (company photographer 2015 – present)
Shawna Sarnowski is a Southern California Photographer, based out of Temecula, CA. She is currently the Theater Photographer for the Old Town Temecula Theater. She has a Degree in Theatre from San Diego State University and have been involved in the Arts for many Years.
For more information about Shawna’s work, go to www.shawnasarnowskiphotography.com
Linda Wolfe (company photographer 2012 – 2015)
Linda Wolfe shot her first photographs in the mountains of Northern California. Since then Linda has applied her photography to personal portraits, nature and landscape. Her passion is to capture the true beauty in people and nature through her photographs.
“I like to challenge myself by applying artistic aspects to each and every photograph.”
Linda’s work has been prominently displayed at local galleries, businesses, and universities. She is an avid learner in the artistic as well as the academic aspects of photography. She has recently discovered the world of dance and is excited to explore the possibilities. Linda’s philosophy is to push the boundaries of classic portraits to bring artistry, fantasy, and the unexpected to each client’s experience.
She lives with her husband Travis, her dog Peaches and cat Buddy in the west hills of Murrieta, California.