Clairobscur Dance Company's Spring 2015 Performance - A Guest Blog post by Hannah Inayoshi

by Spot LA

SATURDAY(4/25) - marked the final performance of Clairobscur Dance Company’s “Memory Lapse.” The evening consisted of three works choreographed by artistic director, Laurie Sefton. An amalgam of highly physical dancing and literal gesturing, “Memory Lapse” offered a night brimming with intensity. 

The first piece, “Werk Work,” started the show off on a lighter note. The fast-paced, jazzy piece looks at the constant hustle involved with business. Playing upon the mechanical repetition within the corporate sphere, the dance opened with five, brightly dressed women running in slow motion- ticking through the steps like a time lapse. The proceeding piece then involved them jumping and dropping, running- then stopping. They came together for highly choreographed movements, then broke apart again, moving to the next space. Even in supposed stillness, the dancers fidgeted and fixed themselves, unsatisfied with the moment. They texted, chatted with the audience, then resumed their very uniform dancing. The piece offered an amusing take on the mundane aspects of work life, and definitely peaked the audience’s attention. 

The second work, “Obviam Somes” took a much darker turn. Investigating surgery, slashing arm-work and painstaking control took over the choreographic tone. A moody lighting (Stacie O' Hara) shrouded the dancers as they began the piece sweeping the floor with their legs. Pain and agony were displayed liberally throughout the dancing, while images like the inside of an intestinal tract, pills, and moving cells squirmed and floated in the background. The only break in the somewhat monotonous pace came from a musical change near the middle/end of the piece. The music included text and had a club like feel, which ushered the dancers to the upstage corner. There they swayed and circled to the hypnotic beat. The moment seemed sexual in some ways, yet with dead looks playing upon their faces, we were only meant to feel unease.  

The final piece of the evening, the namesake of the show, "Memory Lapse" dove into the fears and frustrations surrounding memory loss. I had the pleasure of first viewing an excerpt of the work at the LA dance festival, and the continuation proved to be an interesting -if sometimes confused-narrative. Showcasing the more balletic side of Sefton's repertoire, the piece had many beautiful moments. Beginning with softer gestures, the music and movement continued swelling throughout the piece into much grander sounds and more frantic dancing, giving a sense of the ensuing chaos of a dissolving mind. Utilizing Trios, pas de deuxs, solos, and featured dancers, Sefton’s choreographic muscles were flexing full force in this piece, while the dancers themselves shined in this dramatic work. 

Overall, the smartly structured evening gave the audience a different take on several fears, neurosis, and afflictions that we may face in our lives. I look forward to the evolution of Sefton's choreography, though she already has a firm grasp of her own personal style and strengths.