In Hinduism, the word Sansara refers to the eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.
It's the perfect choice of name, then, for a new local dance company borne out of an old one.
After Our Community Dance Company disbanded at the beginning of this year, those involved "weren't just going to not dance," says 29-year-old Camille Loftin. So she decided to take those eight dancers and start a new modern dance company in April.
Sansara debuted with a preliminary performance at Modbo in May; Ashes, its first official show this weekend at Theatre 'd Art, will feature a selection choreographed by each member, including Pilates instructor Trish Doyle-Stahl; Modbo and S.P.Q.R. co-owner Lauren Andrus; and guest performer Posy Knight, a fixture of the Springs community as a member of Ormao Dance Company.
Loftin is a transplant from Chattanooga, Tenn., where she co-owned and co-artistic directed the modern dance company Contrapasso. She's also the program director for the Club of Arts, and has started an outreach program to work with adults with developmental disabilities. She financed Sansara herself until attracting some financial backers, and calls the start-up "really easy," considering that she already had a core group of dancers and a rehearsal space at Attitudes Center for the Performing and Visual Arts.
"The cool thing about dance is that, even in the last 10 years, it's evolved into this whole other being than what it used to be. You used to go and sit in a concert hall and watch a two-hour story ballet. And now I think people really want to include different types of art to make it more accessible to everyone," says Loftin, referring to other mediums, such as video and photography, that Sansara incorporates.
For Ashes, the themes of rebirth and perseverance inspire wide-ranging subject matter. Andrus' segment centers around body image and how it affects dancers, while Knight arranged three solos about a hammer, a saw and a drill for her routine. It represents her own transition: She'll be heading to the University of Connecticut for a masters in theatre design in the fall.
"How I interpreted [rebirth] is that now I'm moving on to become a scenic designer, instead of being a choreographer. I'm being reborn as a designer," Knight says. "I'm taking my own future into my own hands."
Another piece from Ashes speaks to the discrepancy between upper-class citizens and middle-class citizens.
"I'd like to believe that our generation is savvy and knows about politics and social relevancies, but I think sometimes we don't. So maybe here's another way to expose them to it, through art," says Loftin. "We really strive to bring relevant content and subject matter that speaks to people on a personal level."
And Andrus feels that the timing of the company's rebirth is opportune: "The arts community in Colorado Springs is really fertile. It's ready for more things."