About Us:

Clairobscur Dance was founded by Artistic Director and resident choreographer, Laurie Sefton.  It's 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 on an object.  Movement is obvious, (the light) but also contains a subtext (the shadow), which must be sought out and discerned by both the creator of movement and its spectator.

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Clairobscur Dance creates and presents issue based, emotional performance and accessible work for a global audience.  Through collaborations with compelling artists, designers, composers and creative technologists we pursue innovation, produce artistically excellent and relevant programming.  We create works for traditional theater venues, film, VR360 and site specific performance in which we utilize dance as a medium to address, examine and discuss universal questions, emotions and conditions of humanity.

Clairobscur Dance is a register 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization, and all contributions are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.


Photo by Denise Leitner

Photo by Denise Leitner

Ellen Akashi began her training at Southland Ballet Academy under Salwa Rizkalla where performed with their studio company, Festival Ballet Theatre and guest artists Irina Dvorovenko, Maxim Beloserkovsky, Jennifer Tinger and Carla Korbes.  She has attended summer programs with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, LINES Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Springboard Danse Montreal, Axis Connect and BODYTRAFFIC.  Ellen received her BFA in Dance Performance from Chapman University where she performed in original works by Jiri Kylian and Merce Cunningham.  After graduation, Ellen attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance's year-round program.  She has performed with the San Diego Opera, Fuse Dance Company and Backhaus Dance.  This is Ellen's fourth season with Clairobscur.

Photo by George Simian

Photo by George Simian

Camila Arana is Cuban-American dancer and choreographer born and raised in Miami, FL. Camila graduated with honors from New World School of the Arts/ University of Florida with a BFA in Dance Performance.  She has performed works by Robert Battle, Gerard Ebitz, Lara Murphy, and Ana Gonzalez. Camila has also, performed showings with Sidra Bell Dance New York, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and at the American Dance Festival in 2015.  This is Camila's second season with Clairobscur.

Sadie Black is a freelance artist from and based in Los Angeles. She dances currently with Clairobscur Dance, Barak Ballet, Luminario Ballet and Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet.  She trained with Riverside Ballet Arts, Houston Ballet Academy, and the School of American Ballet. She has been a company dancer with Texas Ballet Theater, Columbia City Ballet and Los Angeles Ballet.  Sadie is also a choreographer and yoga/fitness teacher along with coaching ballet students competing at Youth America Grand Prix.

Lisa Ebeyer trained at Giacobbe Academy of Dance in New Orleans, LA.  She started her professional career at age 16 with The Jackson Ballet, after which she joined Delta Festival Ballet dancing many Principal roles in ballets such as La Fille Mal Gardee, Arthur Mitchell's Holberg Suite, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Nutcracker & Fernand Nault's rock opera ballet Tommy.  After several years with DFB she moved to NYC & danced For Michael Kraus & New Choreographers on Pointe.  When she moved to LA she danced Snow White in Disney's Symphonic Fantasy national tour & Anybodys in West Side Story at Sacramento Light Opera as well as some film & television work.  She now teaches ballet primarily for Dana Foglia Dance Programs.  She would like to thank Laurie Sefton for giving her the amazing opportunity to dance again when she thought those days were long over!  It's been a wild ride that I hope keeps going!!!

Stephanie Hall, originally from Atlanta, is a ballet/contemporary dancer who trained with the Atlanta Ballet.  She attended Point Park University on scholarship and started her professional career with the Nashville Ballet. She joined the Atlanta Ballet and performed many roles, her favorite being the evil queen in Snow White. Stephanie is currently dancing with multiple companies in Los Angeles. She has a true passion for health and fitness and loves to teach. In her side time she enjoys hiking, running, practicing yoga, and traveling the world.  

Leah Hamel in Imminent Drift. Photo by Denise Leitner

Leah Hamel in Imminent Drift. Photo by Denise Leitner

 Leah Hamel is originally from Los Angeles, California, Leah began her dance studies at California Dance Theatre. Upon graduating high school, she moved to New York City to continue her training at The Juilliard School under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. She has studied with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and  had the privilege of performing works by Sharon Eyal, Alex Ketley, Spencer Gavin Hering, Ohad Naharin, Robert Moses, Camille A. Brown, and Malinda LaVelle. In addition to dancing, she has choreographed work for the Los Angeles Dance Festival, Palm Dance Collective, Santa Monica College, Blipswitch, RAW Artists Hollywood, and Juilliard Dance. She has been a company member with Project 21 Dance, Brockus RED, Kelly Alvarez and Artists, Mixed eMotion Theatrix, C.Eule Dance, and thrilled to be dancing for Clairobscur Dance since this past October. 

Dominique McDougal is a native of Lakeland, Florida.  He began his training in dance at Florida Dance Theatre in 2005 becoming a trainee with their professional company in 2008. He moved to Philadelphia and joined Smoke, Lilies and Jade under Zane Booker. After 2 seasons he received a full scholarship to study at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet training program. Throughout his dance experience Dominique collaborated and danced for artists including Earl Mosley, Brigette Dunn-Korpela, Ferdinand DeJesus, Carol Krajacic-Erkes, Lennie Meek (re-staging Lar Lubovich Concerto 622), Norbert De La Cruz III, James Sewell, Amanda Miller, Gregory Dawson, Alonzo King, Sidra Bell, Renee Redding Jones, Kevin Wynn, Yuri Zhukov, etc.


Photo by Denise Leinter

Photo by Denise Leinter

Evan Swenson left home at 16 to complete his professional training with Houston Ballet Academy.  Since then he has worked with companies such as Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and New York Theatre Ballet.  Evan moved back to California in 2008 where he became a ballroom instructor and continued his career as a freelance dancer.  He continually works with Luminario Ballet, Helios Dance Theatre, Long Beach Ballet, Westside Ballet, Barak Ballet and many other companies in the Southern California area.  Evan has had the pleasure of working with some world-renowned choreographers such as:  Ben Stevenson, Ty McIntyre, Stanton Welch, Lyla York, Melissa Barak and Christopher Hampton.  Evan joined Clairobscur in 2012.



Jason Chu, Hip-Hop Poet/Spoken Word Artist - Triptych:  Experience in Defiance

Mark Hadley, Composer - Bully, desiccated earth/California

Bryan Curt Kostors, Composer - Memory Lapse, Girl,Get Off, Concert Walls, Imminent Drift

Victoria Vasta, Composer - Imminent Drift

Lap Chi Chu, Lighting Designer - Girl, Get Off, desiccated earth/California, Bully

Dan Weingarten, Lighting Designer - Supremacy Ride, Triptych:  Experience in Defiance, Imminent Drift

Ruth Fentroy, Costume Designer- Bully, This Facility is Being Monitored for Your Protection and Security, Out of Life

Stephanie Luckey - Costume Designer - Supremacy Ride, Concert Walls

Leslie Karten, Costume Designer- desiccated earth/California

Claire Townsend, Costume Designer - Obviam Somes, I-5, Windmills

Velwynn Yossy, Costume Designer - More Please

David Hwang, Graphic Designer/Visual Artist - logo

Reiley Johnson, Graphic Designer/Visual Artist - Promotional design

D. Love, Tallworks, Graphic Designer

Erik Lohr, Visual Artist/Videographer/DJ- Obviam Somes (video/visuals)

OmniSpherica, VR360 producers