Molly Lynch, artistic director of Ballet Pacifica, called the small party at her parents' Corona del Mar home on Friday a "celebration of the coming season."
A few turns through Frank and Marilyn Lynch's carefully appointed rooms and onto their pool-side patio yielded another view of the proceedings: a Mollyfest.
"I'm here because Molly's a friend and I want to support her," said Janet Eggers, one of the 50 guests enjoying pool-side cocktails and a dinner buffet.
Eggers, who has served on the ballet board, said she and her husband, Henry, and daughter, Allison--who has danced in the company's production of "The Nutcracker Suite" several times--have been season subscribers for years.
Theresa Tatch said she hadn't seen the schedule for the new season yet, "but I know Molly has big ideas, and that's what we need, big ideas!" Tatch ate dinner with George and Tess Russell, Paul and Norma McCaig and Jim Jones, a choreographer and dance teacher at UC Irvine.
"It's very, very exciting working with Molly," said Cliff Faulkner, South Coast Repertory's resident scene designer. Faulkner said he and SCR's free-lance costumer, Shigeru Yaji, are discussing sets and costumes for some of Ballet Pacifica's upcoming programs.
"The great thing about Molly is that she understands all the needs of the dancers, but she also appreciates the value of the other production elements," said Faulkner, who ate with Yaji and Jack Dingrani. The three sat on overstuffed sofas in the living room, balancing plates on their knees and talking shop.
"The wonderful thing about Molly is that she has worked with us for so long, so she understands what we're trying to do," said Ruth Urban, who huddled in another corner of the living room with fellow board member Gena Mezo and her date, Daniel Twer.
The subject of all the acclaim is a 33-year-old Orange County native who started dance lessons with Ballet Pacifica founder Lila Zali at the age of 6, worked her way to principle dancer with the company and was last year named artistic director.
Hostessing in a green leather dress, Lynch discussed her plans for the ballet company, stressing her interest in developing new works.
"(New work) is important because it helps us learn something about ourselves and the world we live in," Lynch said. "I think this is a really good environment for us (to commission new dances), because it's a growing community, with lots of young people and new ideas. I want to provide an opportunity for emerging choreographers, and I want to stimulate our audience with lots of things they maybe aren't expecting from us."
Guests were given the "option" of making a $75 donation to the ballet company, Lynch said. (Originally, Ballet Pacifica had planned a full-blown fund-raiser at a local hotel but canceled it at the last minute, relocated and scaled down.)
Buffet delectables included beef tenderloin, poached salmon, tortellini salad, fruit, cheeses and a selection of mini pastries.
Also attending were founder Zali, Charles Colgan, Elizabeth Townsend, Vince and Pat Pape, and Scott and Perryn Carnahan.
Yee-Ha: The Assistance League of Fullerton held its fifth annual "Western Party" at Knott's Berry Farm on Friday, drawing 700 guests at $35 each and raising an estimated $25,000 for community projects, according to Janice Dodds.
Dodds, who co-chaired the event with Clarice Armstrong, slid her two-steppin' tootsies into iguana-skin cowboy boots for the night. Others followed along thematically. (When the invitation reads, "grub, gamblin' and dancin'," you can forget the sequins and penguin suits.)
Guests grouped in the "Calico Square" section of the amusement park, where a stage and dinner tables were set. Roulette, black jack and craps tables lined the adjacent "Schoolhouse Row."
Local celeb Cathy Rigby McCoy, who lives in Fullerton with her husband, Tom McCoy, donned neon pink cowboy boots and a shorty jean skirt for the night. Cathy and Tom announced the evening's big prize winners, Ann and David Small, who won a weekend at the Hilton in Lake Arrowhead. (Tom's mother, Helen McCoy, is a long-time Assistance League member.)
Proceeds from the benefit will be used for the league's various philanthropies, including a vision-screening program for local schoolchildren, donations of clothing and blankets to families in need and continuing education programs for troubled high school kids.