Life Under My Skin with Newton Moraes, 2022

Life Under My Skin, Program

Newton Moraes Dance Theatre 25th Anniversary

November 24th to 26th 2022 at 8:00 pm
Fleck Dance Theatre, Toronto

Life Under My Skin

Life Under My Skin is an exploration of how artists deal with doubt, depression, worth and everything related how our body, image and inside of ourselves. Choreographed by renowned creator Newton Moraes, the piece examines what artists do to survive—taking on jobs and tasks that are far from the glamour of being artist, while posing the questions: Why do we do this? Why do we create art? Why do we dance? Created in collaboration with lighting designer Sharon DiGenova, composer Edgardo Moreno, and the performers, it is an imagistic tapestry of human expression, and bring together Toronto’s most talented dance artists.

Life Under My Skin is in homage to Robert Shirley (Bob) Newton Moraes friend and partner for 23 years; dancers Leslie Minard and Eva Safir. As well as all the indigenous Brazilian people in the Amazon Rainforest, all their indigenous people in the world, all the artists in the world that struggle to keep creating and each and everyone that has influenced Newton Moraes in his career. As well to each and everyone that unfortunately has passed away because of COVID-19 including 689,000 Brazilians almost 10% of the world population. 

Newton Moraes Dance Theatre

Newton Moraes Dance Theatre is a company dedicated to the creation, performance and production of contemporary dance works to explore, maintain and develop the links between the arts of Canada and Latin America. Newton Moraes Dance Theatre had toured in Canada and internationally to public and critical acclaim. NMDT has received support over the years from Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Laidlaw Foundation, Goethe Institute Toronto, Foreign Affair Canada, Dance Ontario Association, Polo da Zona Norte in Sao Paulo/Brazil. 

Newton Moraes Dance Theatre‘s vision is to inspire and provide role models for young people. Support dance artists who work with dance forms of the Latin American Diaspora in Canada and bring together dance professionals who preserve the history and traditions of Latin America and who foster an appreciation of its heritage. Increase the visibility of the sector, and improve understanding by disseminating information. Raise the level of critical discourse concerning the practice of dance forms of the Latin America diaspora in Canada. This will include creating an awareness of the complexity of Latin American dance as concept and encouraging closer critical engagement with the work of practitioners. Also to provide an environment to support artists in the creation of innovative forms of artistic expression to reach the widest possible audience and to be cultural ambassadors, nationally and internationally.

Newton Moraes, Choreographer and Artistic Director

Newton Moraes (he/him) A Brazilian Canadian LGBTQ+ artist born and raised in Porto Alegre – Brazil where he studied dance with Anette Lubisco, Tony Petzholds and Edison Garcia. As well as African Brazilian dance with Jose Anchieta and Pai Beto do Xango Aganju. Newton Moraes moved to Toronto/Canada in 1991 with the support from his late partner Anthropologist Robert Shirley a well know scholar in Brazilian studies. Newton Moraes is an alumni from the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and performed in Courts of Miracles with Toronto Dance Theatre at the Premiere Dance Theatre in 1992.

He founded Newton Moraes Dance Theatre on May 22, 1997 with two performances at the Makal City Theatre in Stuttgart Germany with dancers Sonya Stefan and Rebecca Ostwald. 

Since his arrival in Canada in 1991, Moraes has choreographed more than fifty works, both for himself and other dancers. Newton has collaborated with choreographer Patrick Parson in “Orixás Voice” and Dancing Spirits” (2004) two new dances created by the Ballet Creole for their season at the Premiere Dance Theatre at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Newton also collaborated with Terrill Maguire in “Crazy to be born” (2003) at the World’s Fare Festival at Harbourfront Centre and Alexandro Ronceria in “Agua” at the Planet IndigenUS Festival in the water at the Harbourfront Centre. Newton Moraes collaborated with Maziar Ghaderi in MEXE as part of Summerworks Festival. His most recent projects include “Ashe” with dancer Pulga Muchochoma as part of Night Shift by Citadel & Compagnie and FFDN, Five Angels on the Steps a solo dance for Kathleen Rea and Lighting Designer Sharon DiGenova, Two Men and Their Lives a solo for Philip McDermott for International Dance Week organized and curated by Free Flow Dance Theatre and “Mulheres” a duet for Taylor Zeller and Rachel a commission by Jackie Latendresse and Free Flow Dance Theatre. Newton Moraes also performed in Montreal this summer at the Lots of Love Festival organized by Sasha Kleinplatz and Sarah Williams, he was also artist in residency at Free Flow Dance Theatre and toured with FFDT at the Ness Creek Festival and performed at the Back Alley Antics in Saskatoon as well at the Murray Park in Saskatoon.

Newton Moraes has received support from the Department of Foreign Affairs to tour Newton Moraes Dance Theatre to Porto Alegre and São Paulo in Brazil and created cultural exchanges with Gregorio Trejo Garcia of Ultimo Tren of Mexico City and the noted choreographer Fred Traguth from Germany. In 1997, he founded Newton Moraes Dance Theatre and he was invited by the District Institute of Culture and Tourism of Bogotá, Colombia to choreograph a contemporary dance piece. The work “Juegos de Amor / Love Games” was the result of his three months of work and was presented in the Teatro Municipal Jorge Eliecer Gaitan with a total audience of 3.500 in 4 performances. Moraes recently returned to Brazil were he and his company performed in 14 cities including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The Foreign Affairs Canada, the Canadian Consulate in Sao Paulo, Canadian Embassy in Brasilia, Choreographic Centre of the city of Rio de Janeiro and City of Rio de Janeiro officially supported this tour. His work has received public and critic claimed in Canada, Colombia, Brasil, Germany, Cuba and USA.

Newton Moraes was a board member of Dance Ontario Association for more than six years and is a member of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists (C.A.D.A.) and member of Dance Transition Resource Centre. He was in the Faculty at the Ballet Creole school of Performing Arts in Toronto for many years teaching Brazilian, African-Brazilian, contemporary dance and choreography. Newton Moraes also taught at COBA Collective of Black Artists, Kashedance and has received the Ontario Arts Council Artist in Education Grant to teach in the schools across the Province of Ontario in and Travel Grants from Ontario Arts Council. Newton Moraes studied on 2011/2011 for one year a Master in Fine Arts in Choreography with a scholarship at York University and currently he teacher at The Theatre Department and at the Acting for Film and Television Department at Humber College the Lakeshore Campus. Newton Moraes is deeply thankful, honoured and happy to have a phenomenal group of artists collaborating in Life Under My Skin a milestone for him and NMDT. 

Sharon Digenova, Lighting Designer

Sharon DiGenova

Sharon Digenova is an award winning Lighting Designer, and Production Stage Manager, who began her career in a Broadway touring house – working in all aspects of technical theatre, on several Tony Award winning productions. Her career has included a multitude of disciplines – designing for dance, theatre, music, multi-media, circus and freak shows, and stage managing music stages, producing dance, running her own venue and touring internationally to more than 350 cities throughout North & South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Far East.

She has collaborated with scores of National artists ranging from The Royal Winnipeg Ballet to Canada’s internationally acclaimed Holy Body Tattoo. She has designed lights for numerous international artists including multi award winning dancer Patricia Guerrero and Flamenco master, Joaquin Grilo. Recently she had the honor of “returning to her roots” (stage managing theatre) with the final production (A Play) by the esteemed Peggy Baker Dance Projects. Sharon’s last collaboration with Newton was lighting his choreography for REAson D’etre’s Production Five Angels on the Steps – a tour de force for Kathleen Rea. She is pleased to be a part of the Newton Moraes Dance Theatre team for Life Under My Skin. 

Edgardo Moreno, composer

Edgardo Moreno is a Hamilton based composer that has been commissioned for projects in Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Sweden, Argentina, England and USA. He has written scores for films produced by CBC, Bravo, City TV, NFB, OMNI, Ontario Arts Council, History Channel, TVO. He has worked extensively with contemporary dance choreographers creating sound design and musical scores. He is presently working in creating video and live sound pieces that are part of his Firefly project. His Film Double Exposure has screened in various film festival across Canada and will be part of exhibitions in Ontario in the coming months. 


Maggie Armstrong

Maggie Armstrong is a freelance contemporary dance artist based in Toronto. She is a proud graduate from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 2020, under the direction of Patricia Fraser. During her time there, Maggie had the pleasure of performing works by Marc Boivin, Jennifer Dallas, Danny Grossman, directed by Eddie Kastrau, Sharon B. MooreDavid Norsworthy, Julia Sasso, Darryl Tracy, and Apolonia Velasquez. Maggie has also studied at the Martha Graham Summer School, as well as the Kenny Pearl Emerging Artists Intensive where she performed two works by Robert Glumbek and Apolonia Velasquez.

Maggie has worked with Unwrap Theatre, Caroline’s Creative Initiatives, and has most recently pushed her creative endeavors in choreographing and directing a contemporary dance music video, “Lucy Hang On.” 

Daniela Carmona

Daniela Carmona

Daniela Carmona is a Mexican performer and choreographer, interested in the syncretic cultural practices, dance theater and the path of dance as an ancestral ritual.Graduated from the National School of Classical and Contemporary Dance, in the Bachelor of Contemporary Dance of the National Institute of Fine Arts (2016). She obtained a scholarship to attend the intensive workshop in the formation of the Limón technique offered by the Limón Institute of New York taught in Los Angeles, California (2015).


She was part of the Mexican company Barro Rojo Arte Escénico (2014-2018) participating in National and International Festivals around the Mexican Republic, Colombia, USA and Africa. In 2018, she collaborated on the dance video “Afterimage” in New Delhi, India, with choreographer Himangini Puri. She began her career as an independent dancer in Montréal, Canada, where she has collaborated with renowned stage creators such as: Paco Ziel, Leticia Vera, Carlos Rivera, Kyra Jean Green, Barbara Diabo, Mamselle Ruiz and Los Viejha. She was part of the cast in “Carmen” with the Montréal Opera, La Tilica 2019, Festival Quartiers Danses and Festival Servi au Volant. Since 2019 she is part of the company “A’nó: wara Dance Theatre” directed by Barbara Diabo, originally from the Kanyen’kehà:ka Nation (Montréal)

She currently is part of the company “Red Sky Performance” directed by Sandra Laronde originally from the Anishinaabe nation (Toronto) and part of the Newton Moraes Dance Theatre directed by Newton Moraes.

Emilio Colalillo

Emilio Colalillo

Emilio Colalillo is a professional dancer, choreographer, performer and director. He has a BFA from TMU (formally known as Ryerson University), a MFA from York University and his BEd from Redeemer University. He has taught for many universities and colleges in Canada and for many private high schools for the last 8 years. He is also the Artistic Director of EMiMOTION, an experimental, Italian, contemporary dance company since 2012. His works have toured the world internationally to USA, Europe, UAE and Asia, performing and directing for many shows, festivals, concerts and productions.

He is the recipient of the Paula Citron Award for his choreography and has published his work “Choreographing the Cyborg”. Recently he has danced for the Canadian Opera Company as a lead dancer in La Traviata and choreographed and performed in The Magic Flute at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, downtown Toronto. Colalillo has performed for Corpus Dance Projects, Marie Jose Chartier, William Yong, Hanna Kiel, Pan Am Games, MMVAs, Redken, Toronto Fashion Week, Little Pear Garden, Contempo Arts Production in Los Angeles and is excited to be performing again for Newton Moraes Dance Theatre.

Rumi Jeraj

Rumi Jeraj is an Ismailli muslim hailing from Sherwoodpark Alberta (the world’s largest hamlet). A Graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University Rumi has worked for dance artists including Daryl Tracy, Heidi Strauss, Hannah Kiel and Eilish Shin-Culhane. Since graduating Rumi has been curious about creating his own work, collaborating with musicians through the National Ballet’s open space program and Purawai Vyas (a Bharatanatyam dancer) through the Love-In.

He was also a selected choreographer for the inaugural DaCo where he created a first draft of a walk titled The Line. He aspires to create and be a part of work which mixes forms in order to better tell stories. He believes there is a perfect balance between words, music, and movement which can communicate intellectually, emotionally and viscerally all at once. He aspires to find this state on stage.

Aryana Malekzadeh

Aryana Malekzadeh is an Iranian Canadian independent dance artist and arts educator based in Toronto. She trained at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, where she graduated with both attendance and academic awards, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from York University, where she was awarded numerous scholarships for her excellent work ethic. During this time, she worked with many renowned choreographers such as David Norsworthy, Peggy Baker, Roberto Campanella, Christopher House, and most recently Syreeta Hector.

In addition to performing, she is a faculty member at York University, teaching the fundamentals of dance to non-majors. Throughout her career, Aryana has had the privilege of performing as a company member with Little Pear Garden Dance Company in ‘Spectrum of Connection’ at Dance Ontario DanceWeekend, Shannon Litzenberger’s remount of ‘World After Dark’ at Nuit Blanche and is excited to be performing in ‘Life Under My Skin’ by Newton Moraes.

Jianna Neufeld

Jianna Neufeld (she/her) is a Toronto-based dance artist who was born and raised in beautiful Northern British Columbia. She is a graduate of the Victoria Academy of Ballet (Victoria, BC) and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (Toronto, ON), and is currently completing her BFA Hons. in Choreography/Performance at York University. Neufeld has performed works by Peggy Baker, Marc Boivin, Jennifer Dallas, Danny Grossman, Sharon B. Moore, David Norsworthy, Alysa Pires, Darryl Tracy, and several other acclaimed choreographers.

She also performed in María Isabel Salgado’s Winchester Prize winning film, “The Secret Thought”, which was presented at the SummerWorks Dance Festival. Outside of performance, Neufeld is an arts educator, working to nurture artistic communities in rural areas. She is the founder of the Dawson Creek Art Gallery’s “Young Northern Artists’ Collective” (Dawson Creek, BC), which provides subsidized interdisciplinary artistic experiences for youth in the North.

Andrea Rojas

Andrea Rojas

Andrea Rojas (she/her) From México, Andrea is a dance artist graduated from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (2017-2020). She trained at Centro Nacional de Danza Contemporánea in México (High School Diploma 2011-2014). Rojas has danced/performed for Aletheia Cuerpo Escénico de México, Haley Dimeck Dance, Liberium, Newton Moraes Dance Theatre, Laberinto en Movimiento, among other groups and collectives. She co-produced and co-choreographed the short-film “Faceless” presented in Canada, Mexico, and Ecuador.

Andrea has self-choreographed: “A través”, “Small deaths, eternal lives”, “La llorona”, among others solos. She received the merit-based Kathryn Ash Scholarship in 2019. In 2020, Andrea won the creative process award for her piece “Soul(itudes)” At STDT. Rojas is an active dance artist, who firmly believes in the power dance has to bring to the surface sensations and experiences, sometimes unexplored; as well as bringing up reflection about current issues and concerns in the world. Currently, she is happily and gratefully dancing, for a second season, with Newton Moraes Dance Theatre.

Brendan De Santis

Brendan De Santis

Brendan De Santis is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, adjudicator and teacher originally hailing from London, Ontario. Brendan has graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Education and is an Ontario Certified teacher, currently teaching performing arts at the York Region District School Board. Since 2003 Brendan has been studying dance and continues to perform in theater, commercial and TV/Film projects such as, The Music Man and Fiddler on the Roof under the direction of Don Flexor. The Afters music video ‘Never Going Back to Okay’, Toronto recording Artist Teria Morado and Little Pear Garden.

Most recently Brendan performed in The 2022 Redken Show with renowned choreographer Bonni Story. Brendan is excited to hit the stage at the Fleck Dance Theatre to perform Newton Moraes contemporary show “Life Under My Skin.” Movement is medicine for the soul, never stop moving.

Land Acknowledgement

We respectfully acknowledge the past and present traditional owners of this territory and their unique role in the life of the region. Newton Moraes Dance Theatre and Harbourfront Centre are committed to honouring Indigenous peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land and waters, and their rich contribution to society. Toronto is on the traditional territory of the Anishinabeg, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We ask that you respect the land and traditions of those who walked upon it for millennia before us.

Thank you

  • Composer: Edgardo Moreno
  • Lighting Design: Sharon DiGenova
  • Video Teaser: Olya Glotka
  • Photos: David Hou and Cylla von Tiedemann
  • Website and Program Design: Naomi Rae Estreicher
  • Poster and Postcards: Albert Ng
  • Residency at TDT dancers: Sonya Stefan and Emilio Colalillo
  • Harbourfront Centre:
    • Chief Executive Officer – Marah Braye
    • Chief Programming Officer – Iris Nemani
    • Chief Operations Officer – Martin Kenneally
    • Director, Planning & Special Projects – Heather Waddell Director
    • Production – Jamie Rodriguez
  • Fleck Dance Theatre:
    • Manager, Visitor Services – Christopher Hackett
    • Production Manager – Bill Zeilstra
    • Head Electrician – Allan Day
    • Audio Engineer – Phil Clemo
    • Stage Carpenter – Jackson Sayliss
    • Fly Operator – Rob Martin
    • Stage Technicians at Harbourfront Centre are represented by Local 58 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its territories, and Canada.

Life Under My Skin is created with the support from Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts. Newton Moraes and NMDT are very deeply thankful to each of the artists involved in the creative process and presentation of Life Under My Skin, each and every dancer that over the years were part of Newton Moraes Dance Theatre including the founders Sonya Stefan, Rebecca Baptista, Sarah Ostwald, Tim Spronk, Tatiana Ramos, Tanya Crowder, Jason Foucault, Jaime Lopez, Matthew Johnson, Rui Imizu, Amanda Paixao, Elizabeth Kmiec, Patricia Ferlisi, Melissa Noventa, Lily Gonscak, Leslie Minard, Barbara Palomina, William Wong, Katherine Semchuk, Yuhala Garcia, Mikhail Morris, Byron Beckford, Shakeil Rollock, Keiko Nonomiya, Myriam Farger, Edward Kastrau, as well as Christopher House and TDT for the residency at Winchester Theatre in 2021 the beginning of the creative process of Life Under My Skin with Dancer Sonya Stefan and Emilio Colalillo, Amy Bowring, Michael Ripley, Miriam Adams, Dance Collection Dance, Laurence Lemierx and Citadel & Compagnie, Andrew Tay and Toronto Dance Theatre, Sasha Ivanochko and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Amy Hampton and Dance Ontario Association, Jackie Latendresse, Free Flow Dance Theatre, Free Flow Dance Centre, Mimi Beck, Rosslyn Jacobs, Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre, Graeme Rivers and Joy of Dance. 

Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council