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Brazilian tap dancer and choreographer Leonardo Sandoval is renowned for blending America’s great tap tradition with Brazil’s rich rhythmic and musical heritage. 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.
A true dancer-musician, Leonardo is now based in New York, where he is in demand as a solo performer and choreographer, and is a core member of acclaimed company Dorrance Dance. He has received praise in major publications for his “authority and nuance” (Chicago Sun-Times), "rousing" choreography (The New York Times), and “rigorous and exciting” work (The Financial Times). He currently holds a residency at the American Tap Dance Foundation, and was recently named the National Dance Institute’s inaugural artist-in-residence.
He and composer Gregory Richardson direct Music From The Sole, a 10-member tap and live music company that has performed at venues including the Lincoln Center, Jacob’s Pillow, The Yard, and Battery Dance Festival. Embracing tap’s unique nature as a blend of sound and movement, they blur the boundaries of dance and music, opening up new possibilities for both. Their work incorporates Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, hip hop, jazz, and house influences, highlighting connections between Afro-diasporic dance and music in Brazil and the US.
Leonardo is also deeply committed to community-focused education and outreach. Driven by a passionate belief in the transformational power of the arts, he brings original dance and music to venues ranging from schools and community centers to jails and hospitals.
By teaching both tap technique and musicianship, and using body percussion, I aim to help my students develop as dancers and musicians, emphasizing that tap dance is both music and dance.
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Link to Additional Work
Some Supplies You Might Need
For tap lessons: ideally, tap shoes and a wood floor, but leather sole/ regular shoes also work!
Body percussion/ music: just yourself!
*TRAIN is a free service offered by the Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities, which receives no proceeds from instruction. Our mission is to connect artists directly with students, and all instructional arrangements and financial agreements are made exclusively between the artists and the students. The Virginia Folklife Program does not assume responsibility or liability for these arrangements.