DANCE — Clairobscur Dance Company in Performance April 24 & 25! Los Angeles
Clairobscur Dance Company in Performance
April 24 & 25!
Clairobscur Dance Company is the instrument upon which Laurie Sefton crafts her dense and detailed choreography. Her work is issued based in which each issue is presented through an emotional lens, grounded in versatile athletic prowess, yet topical and timely. Marked by a high ratio of movement to time, her dances are created where the body is used as a canvas, medium and inspiration. Clairobscur is committed to creating, producing and directing original work, collaborating with other artists and bring new viewers to the world of dance.
Clairobscur Dance Company was founded by Artistic Director and resident choreographer, Laurie Sefton. Its name is the French translation of chiaroscuro, a 17th century painterly term which means an effect of contrasted light and shadow created by light falling unevenly an object. Movement is often obvious, (the light) but also contains a subtext (the shadow), which must be sought.
Ms. Sefton’s work and art extends and expands upon her native Southern California childhood. The daughter of two disparate disciplines—aerospace engineering and the visual and performing arts, Ms. Sefton’s work has always echoed tensions and themes from her upbringing. Her father’s precision and secretiveness born of his career as an engineer brought to Southern California during the Cold War is reflected in her work as is the more flowing dynamic influence of her mother, an accomplished visual artist and performer trained at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore in piano. Growing up on the edge of the San Fernando Valley in wilder times, her family witnessed the test rocket launches emblematic of the Cold War struggle. Coyotes howled in the distance during her childhood. Next to these wild, raw beginnings, stands her mother’s family reflecting a more classical, almost aristocratic style (her grandfather served in Cuba’s diplomatic corps); her father’s family reflected the rugged, self-sufficient and inventive farmers of the Midwest. Ms. Sefton can recall her father stitching up his own thumb after an accident in his shop. From these two families and the rugged Southern California landscape of her childhood, Ms. Sefton has drawn inspiration, energy, and creativity to create her own unique and challenging style of choreography.
Laurie Sefton’s Clairobscur Dance Company serves as the embodiment and vehicle for her artistic expression. Producing, choreographing and directing her own concerts as well being presented, her work reflects the history of her divergent influences yet consistently communicates the energy and dynamism that has always characterized her choreography. Ms. Sefton’s work is both issue based and emotional. Addressing such varied topics as loss, surveillance, bullying, anger, dependency and where does dance belong? Her work struggles, confronts and inspires. Laurie’s choreography has been called “innovative, compelling and accessible” where “the details are the substance” of her work. Her choreography has been performed in New York, Massachussetts, Utah, Texas and Germany as well as throughout Southern California including various venues and Festivals such as the DUMBO Dance Festival, the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, the Los Angeles Dance Festival, The So-Cal Dance Invitational, The Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara, the Pasadena Dance Festival, Diavolo Performance Space, ARC (A Room to Create) Pasadena, the Electric Lodge in Venice, Highways Performance Space, Sushi Performance Space in San Diego, UC Irvine and UCLA.
Laurie Sefton earned a BA in Dance from UCLA, where she received several scholarships. In 2009 she was the subject of a “Meet the Artist “ Profile on Dance Channel TV and her concerts “tell me” and “This Facility is Being Monitored for Your Protection and Security” were both LA Weekly’s “pick of the week.” She is a recipient of a 2010 Hothouse Residency at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures and was a Help Desk/LA Artist from 2010 – 2013. She received both the People’s Choice Award and the Festival Champion award at the 2012 Rocky Mountain Choreography Festival.
In addition to running Clairobscur, Laurie is also a producer and director. She has recently choreographed and directed a music video for the indie band Hotel Cinema (which is currently in post production) and is the Producer (in conjunction with Los Angeles Ballet) of the LA Ballet Showcase, a Los Angeles Dance Showcase for presenters and agents at the 2013 Western Arts Alliance conference.
This work continues Ms. Sefton’s examination privacy and security, but in reference to the human body, in and of itself. Isolated without human contact, alone and unprotected, we perform procedures on it, take things out of it and we feel a loss when something is physically removed from our bodies. How do feelings of modesty and instinctual protectiveness manifest themselves in our actions and gestures? What emotional stress does it put on us to have to try and protect ourselves, yet keep our bodies in proper functioning order with the ministrations that are sometimes brutal and violating to our sense of keeping our physical living carcass safe and unharmed? Yet there is also humor in this subject. We cannot take our bodies to seriously as their parts do inspire amusement. This new work contains a virtuosic style of movement performed by three women and two men. Thematic gestures of the arms, hands and torso are paramount to the movement. A rich tapestry of arm gestures whirling, unfolding, holding and flailing combine with locomotion both on the floor and across the floor, embellishments of torso movement and facial expressions shall grace the dancer’s forms to express these complex themes and emotions. Floor patterns taken from the body’s internal systems and hands gestures will combine to produce a visually complex lavish textural creation. Excerpts from Obviam Somes were presented at the Rocky Mountain Choreography Festival in 2012 where it was awarded the Grand Prize.
Werk Work is a site-adaptive work created for the sleek, marble lobby at One Sansome in San Francisco. It is a witty commentary o the daily hustle and meet-and-greet of the business world. Utilizing the existing structure, performers interact with both their environment and the audience: running on the walls, entering the space by either escalator or staircase.
Try this exciting troupe’s brand of major thought and innovation and help bring L.A.’s dance culture into Spring bloom!
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