The Stomping Ground L.A. offers a variety of high-end local companies It is a chance for the Southern California community to embrace its resident talent. This theater is currently showing two works by an introspective company called Laurie Sefton Creates. Laurie’s showpieces are a perfect example of artistic freedom, imaginative introspection, and complex compilations. Ms. Laurie Sefton has been a consistent gift of concert dance in the Los Angeles area and her genius is in the melding of movement and the creation of attention given to each step. She proves throughout the concert that expertise and experience translates into all areas of invention.
In Los Angeles, many mainstream media manifestos are usually in your face and they purposefully lay out the storyline. The beauty of abstract art is that the interpretation can have many platforms. Not to say nonrepresentational work isn’t purposeful, however the artist and the observer can have a multitude of possibilities and imaginative insight. It is refreshing when an audience can have an inventive experience of relating to the originator or unveiling a different perspective. On Saturday evening September 17th, 2022, Laurie Sefton’s first piece called The Mythology of Self, builds an ultimate multimedia mix of photography, art, film, song, music, acting and dance all while connecting them with several dancing roles. The scenes are complemented by music from Emer Kinsella and Bryan Curt Kostors of an original compelling score. Victoria Vasta constructs a resolute compellation sung by Mezzo Soprano Carmen Voskuhl. Ms. Voskuhl’s strong melodic voice comes in as prelude and coda, which proved to invoke the spirit of the dance. The skilled photographer Skye Schmidt circles her subjects while the dancers are in their element, and she focuses on their idolized image. The picture is then sent to a gifted visual artist Anna Carreras as she sits on stage, crafts, and observes each performer. The images are projected on to the backdrop screen creating a film of inspired phantasmagorias. It felt as though you were walking through an abstract art gallery exhibit but then the art starts to come alive.
Leon Wiebers did the costumes which were resourceful and on point. The dancers showcased an array of personalities and personas. Mizuki Sako grew up in Orange County, she is first to start, she gleams in her solo and helps to draw the audience into this metaphorical fantasy. It was a pleasure to watch Nicholas Sipes’s articulation in his arms, legs, and feet in which he moved with such grace, acuity, and sinuosity. His sophisticated demeanor was that of beauty and agile prowess. He, sometimes, summoned the essence of a long-stretched bird. Alisa Carreras projected a slow-moving withdrawn sloth with the effort in her hands. Her physicality was nicely controlled and concentrated. Sidney Scully consistently flowed throughout the piece. A buoyant stand out character is that of Los Angeles native Emily Krenik whose personality is fantastically flashy. Emily is dressed in eighties hair, make-up and clothing and her precise body angels are ostensibly sharp and edgy. It is a superb testament to the company and choreography that everyone kept the audience engaged and that the non-dancing elements did not pull unwanted focus. A couple of times dancers touched and intertwined in situations where only one is more interested than the other. These instants seemed brief entanglements of their hearts and minds.
Laurie Sefton’s second masterwork is titled, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. Three women are found unbreakably connected, on half pointe, and are not able to separate. This choreographic element creates tension with the performers as well as the audience. There were small pieces flying from the already sparse costumes which of whom were conceptualized by Merissa Mann with Laurie Sefton. These fragments on the floor, built a visual of stress and distress for the scene. Ms. Sefton’s ability to provide unique intertwined movements while not over repeating keeps the spectators attentiveness and her choice of sound and steps showcase her profound aptitude of putting together choreographic sectors. This part of the show was technically demanding and required a seasoned degree of ability. Ms. Sefton cleverly tests all three ladies, all of whom rose to meet, every measured hinge, and distinctive contemporary placement. Maddie Lacambra has an underlying purposeful lovely youthfulness to her persona. She has many powerful moments of control and proficiency. Mizuki Sako fulfills her segments, she is loftier in her turns and extensions. This piece was made for Pasadena native Sidney Scully, she excels in every second. Her transitions easily meld the firm, sharp and soft nuances of unceasing paces. She is precisely on the music and articulates all circular motions.
So, LA, but at times, The Mythology of Self, resembled episodes of American Gods. The tv series was originally on Starz and each artiste could be a mainstream God striving for your admiration and attention. In the storyline, the deities due switch facades. The second piece, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things was reminiscent of a video game expressing its many different levels. Laurie Sefton does provide her insight into her motivation. However, one can choose to see many diverse presentations making for the viewer a visionary practice of theoretical storytelling.
You can still catch this performance this weekend September 23rd and 24th at Stomping Ground L.A. To purchase tickets, please click HERE.
To learn more about Laurie Sefton Creates, please visit their website.
Written by Alice Alyse for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Laurie Sefton Creates – Emily Krenik and Nicholas Sipes in Sefton’s “The Mythology of Self” – Photo by Skye Schmidt