Brazilian tap dancer and choreographer Leonardo Sandoval is renowned for blending America's tap tradition with Brazil's rich musical and rhythmic heritage. A true dancer-musician, he helped bring tap to a wider audience in Brazil via numerous TV and stage appearances, and by co-founding the Companhia Carioca de Sapateado in Rio de Janeiro. In 2012, he won global recognition when he was a finalist in pop superstars Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony's talent show Q'Viva - The Chosen. One of Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch for 2021, he is the recipient of a 2022 Vilcek Foundation Prize for Creative Promise in Dance and a 2022 NYSCA/ NYFA Artist Fellow in Choreography.
Now based in New York, Leonardo is a core member of Michelle Dorrance’s acclaimed company, Dorrance Dance, performing across the world at venues like the Joyce Theater, the Guggenheim Museum, NY City Center, BAM, London’s Sadler’s Wells, Canada’s National Arts Center, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, and many more. Together with composer Gregory Richardson, he directs Music From The Sole, a NYC-based tap dance and live music company that explores tap dance's Afro-diasporic roots and lineage to a wide range of Black dance and music from jazz to samba, house, and passinho (Brazilian funk). His work has been performed at Lincoln Center, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Guggenheim, The Yard, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, and Battery Dance Festival, among others. He has received support from the New England Foundation for the Arts (National Dance Project), New York State Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, Dance/ NYC, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, the 92Y, and held residencies at Jacob's Pillow, The Yard, Kaatsbaan, American Tap Dance Foundation, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, and Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana; in 2019-20, he was the National Dance Institute's inaugural artist in residence.
As a solo artist, Leonardo has appeared at venues including the Caramoor Jazz Festival (presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center) and at the National Folk Festival, a rare honor for a tap dancer in the storied festival's 87-year history and has worked with musicians including Michael Mwenso and the Shakes, Ben Sollee, and the Quebe Sisters. He has continued bringing tap to global audiences through his performances, as well as TV features and interviews on PBS, BBC, MSNBC, the CW channel, and Fox. Leo is a passionate advocate of arts education and engagement, leading workshops, classes, and lecture-demonstrations, centered on tap, body percussion, Afro-Brazilian rhythms and more, to diverse audiences around the globe, including through partnerships with the National Dance Institute and Lincoln Center Education in New York, Symphony Space's Global Arts program, and the Meninos de Luz project in Rio de Janeiro.