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 for his “spontaneous aura of thinking [...] rousing choreography” and "intricate Brazilian beats and textures", is quickly gaining a reputation in the tap world and beyond for his musicality and for adding his own Brazilian flavor to tap dancing. He began his dance studies at age 6 in Piracicaba (São Paulo State). When he was 11 years old, he began appearing on Brazilian TV, and at 18, he was invited to Los Angeles to attend the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, as well as the L.A. Tap Festival. Leo also co-founded the Cia Carioca de Sapateado in Rio de Janeiro with the aim of bringing tap dance to a wider audience in Brazil by incorporating Brazilian rhythms, music, and dance styles into tap.
In 2013, Leo moved to New York and was invited to perform and teach at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World, America’s largest festival of tap and percussive arts. In New York, he is a core member of Michelle Dorrance’s acclaimed company, Dorrance Dance, performing across the United States and abroad, including at the Jacob’s Pillow and Fall for Dance festivals, the Guggenheim Museum, the Lincoln Center, the Joyce Theater, and the Danspace Project in New York, Canada's National Arts Centre, and the Vail International Dance Festival. In addition to this, Leo is also in demand as a solo performer and as a choreographer. Since September 2014, he has been an artist in residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation. His first full-length choreography, Music from the Sole, an hour-long show created with American bassist and composer Greg Richardson, premiered in 2015 at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore, to a sold-out audience. Excerpts from the show were also presented in New York and at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Other recent credits include guest appearances with musician Ben Sollee, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Michael Mwenso & The Shakes, performances at the National Folk Festival, ATDF's Rhythm in Motion, and interviews on MSNBC, the CW channel, and Fox. Upcoming projects include US and international tours with both Dorrance Dance and Music from the Sole, as well as new choreographic work.
Leo’s choreography and performing style are rooted both in America’s great tap dance heritage, and in Brazil’s rich rhythmic and musical traditions, with additional influences from jazz and contemporary dance.
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