Laurie Sefton: Clairobscur Dance Company - Los Angeles, California

Photo: Laura Jane Williamson

Artist Statement
Dance has the power to communicate emotion; viscerally, visually and intellectually. I want my work to be seen and visually understood that it is about specific subjects or emotions. To be felt, that the emotion is projected from the dancers as individuals from their hearts through their bodies. To be understood, by the subtext, the gesture and the movements as intellectual ideas, thesis, premises.

My artistic vision is to connect to my audience through innovative movement that inspires an emotional and kinetic response, by tapping into the heart of political, social and emotional issues and to illuminate those ideas and feelings through an attention to detail in every gesture, movement and step. All works must have an idea and impetus from which to begin. Through research, writing and the viewing of non-dance sources I derive a movement idea, which brings a specific focus and point of view to each subject that I explore. These ideas, the visual, intellectual and kinetic are taken to the studio and transformed into full phrases, movement concepts, gestures which are taught to my dancers and finally transformed into completed works.

Short Artist/Company Bio
Laurie Sefton founded Clairobscur Dance Company in 1987. The name comes from the French translation of chiaroscuro, which means an effect of contrasted light and shadow created by light falling unevenly on an object. Movement is often obvious, (the light) but also contains a subtext (the shadow), which must be sought out and discerned by both the creator of movement and it’s spectator.

Laurie Sefton, Clairobscur Dance Company’s Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer earned a BA in Dance from UCLA. She has performed at American College Dance Festival where she was awarded a scholarship to study with Kei Takei and the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. Her early training included Graham, Limon and Horton techniques with Horton Masters Don Martin and Ellie Johnson (original Lester Horton Company members) Milton Meyers and Ron Brown. As a performer Ms. Sefton has appeared with Pheobe Neville, Dr. Emma Lewis Thomas, Ellie Johnson and Cameron Spencer. Her choreography has been performed in Utah, Texas and Germany as well as throughout Southern California including at UCLA, Highways Performance Space, The Unknown Theatre, The Electric Lodge and Sushi Performance Space.

Describe some of your achievements over the course of the last five years:
In the last five years I have re-formed my company, been awarded 5 foundation grants, been selected as a 2010 Help Desk/LA artist, and been awarded the Hothouse Residency at UCLA.

What do you hope to gain from the experience of participating in this festival?
Participating in the A Dance and Physical Theater Festival will expose my work to a wider audience, give myself, and my dancers an opportunity to interact, connect and network with other artists.

Have you participated in other festivals or showcases?
Yes. I enjoyed meeting and talking with other choreographers, and directors, the sharing of ideas and resources. Performing in different venues can give a fresh perspective on ones own work. Having exposure to press from other cities can also be a benefit of a publicized and well-run festival.

I have found that both a quality lighting designer and a knowledgeable technical director are essential to a harmonious festival experience. The technical aspects of concert performance in a festival setting are doubly important in creating a positive experience for the participants and presenting their work in a high quality production.

What Laurie will be bringing to the festival.

Title: “Obviam Somes”
Number of performers: 5
Brief Description of the Work: This work examines privacy and security in reference to the human body, in and of itself. 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? Three women and two men will perform this new work.

Thematic gestures of the arms, hands and torso are paramount to the movement. A rich tapestry of arm gestures folding, unfolding, grasping and flailing combine with locomotion, embellishments of torso movement grace the dancer’s forms to express these complex themes and emotions