Brazilian tap dancer Leonardo Sandoval, described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “strong yet fine-boned, capable of authority and nuance”, and praised by the New York Times and Financial Times for his "rousing", “intricate”, and "exciting and rigorous" choreography, has established a reputation in the tap world and beyond for his musicality and for adding his own Brazilian flavor to the American art of tap dancing. He helped bring tap to a wider audience in Brazil via numerous TV 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.
Now based in New York, Leo is in demand as a solo performer and choreographer, and was recently named the first artist-in-residence at the National Dance Institute, in addition to being an artist in residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation. He is a core member of Michelle Dorrance’s acclaimed company, Dorrance Dance, performing across the United States and abroad at venues like the Joyce Theater, the Guggenheim Museum, 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 tap dance and live music company based in NYC; he had his work performed at Lincoln Center, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Yard, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, and Battery Dance Festival, among others. Their piece Partido, was a 2019 finalist of the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, and was awarded a 2020 USArtists International grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation for touring to Brazil. Their 2015 piece Music From The Sole was the focus of a 2019 Family Music Residency at Lincoln Center Education. He has also toured extensively as a solo artist, including at 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 86-year history. He has collaborated with musicians including Michael Mwenso and the Shakes, Ben Sollee, and the Quebe Sisters, and 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 outreach, leading workshops, classes, and lecture-demonstrations, teaching tap, body percussion, Afro-Brazilian rhythms and more to diverse audiences across the globe, including through partnerships with the National Dance Institute and Lincoln Center Education in New York and the Meninos de Luz project in Rio de Janeiro.
A true dancer-musician, Leo’s artistry is rooted in America’s great jazz and tap dance heritage and in Brazil’s rich rhythmic and musical forms, with additional influences from contemporary and urban dances.