Named after the French translation of chiaroscuro — the Renaissance Italian art term for the shifting effect of light falling unevenly on an object — L.A.-based Clairobscur Dance Company has garnered its share of attention and awards. That's largely thanks to artistic director Laurie Sefton's intricate choreography, which explores multiple perspectives on tough topics. While subjects such as bullying, dementia, privacy versus security, social over-connectivity and climate change are grist for many choreographers, Sefton rises above the fray with a distinctive voice that manages to bring both passion and objectivity by considering topical and often volatile subjects from unexpected perspectives. In her highly praised Bully, Sefton considers not just the perspective of the victim but also the bully and a crowd empowered to model the bullying behavior. Brought to life by excellent, versatile dancers, Sefton's thought-provoking works on complex, difficult themes are leavened with splashes of humor and enhanced by original music. Highly regarded among L.A.'s vibrant dance community, Sefton and her troupe in recent years have been gaining well-deserved wider attention in their hometown after the troupe began receiving praise and awards while touring outside of L.A.
Credit: Courtesy Clairobscur