Monica Newsam, President of NEWSAM AERIAL DANCE, was born in Panama. Her discovery of a passion for movement and dance at age five marked the beginning of a life-long journey to define her singular artistic vision.
Monica’s internationally acclaimed body of work in dance and choreography stretches across four continents. She has performed in France, Italy, India, Ecuador, El Salvador, Cuba, the Bahamas and the United States. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the National School of Dance and Folklore in Havana, where she also performed professionally with the Cuban dance company “Retazos.” Upon her return to Panama, Monica co-created the first panamanian contemporary dance company “Creadanza,” with her sister and constant collaborator Graciela Newsam.
Monica continued her exploration of international movement styles in India. She received a Post Graduate Diploma in Indian Classical Dance at Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra and Yoga at the Sivananda Yoga Center of Kerala, and also taught ballet and contemporary dance at the American Embassy School and the Lycée Français de Delhi. Following successful performances in New Delhi, both Monica and Graciela performed in France and Italy. Returning home again, Monica joined the faculty at the University of Panama as a professor of dance, while continuing to perform extensively in Central and South America.
In 1999, inspired by their desire to take dance into the local community, Graciela and Monica co-founded Gramo Danse Company, the first aerial dance company in Panama. In her continuing relationship with Gramo Danse as performer and contributing choreographer, Monica is fulfilling her dream of educating children about the power of dance.
In 2003, Monica received a master’s degree in education from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. She began exploring aerial circus techniques which lent new perspectives to her artistic work. Currently, Monica teaches aerial dance at Webster University in St. Louis, where she also choreographs for its Dance Ensembles. In 2010 and 2011, Monica worked with the St. Louis non-profit consortium ANNONYArts to produce her shows “Aerial Fusion” and “Airborne Soirée.”
Throughout her extensive creative output, Monica seeks to expand global awareness of aerial dance as an exciting, expressive movement discipline. Her most recent projects include the joint development with Graciela of a university-level aerial dance curriculum. Monica first introduced this curriculum Xielo/Gramo Danse in Panama, and is expanding it with her students at Webster.