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Migrating spaces


Leonardo was born in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Growing up in an atmosphere of mystical history and lore inspired to interact with the world through dance. The complexity of early education in south America drove Leonardo´s interest in many directions, and it is the base of my complex artistic identity.

Carreer as a dancer and dance creator:

The artist entered their first international dance company in Salvador da Bahia in 97. The Balé do Teatro Castro Alves offered a space to work with renowned contemporary choreographers and open their horizons touring abroad in Germany, Asia, the Middle East, and South America (Brazil) at the end of the '90s. In 2002, Leonardo decided to move to Graz, Austria, where they worked for the Opera Graz

Leonardo encountered Daniela Kurz joining the team of the Tanztheater Nürnberg. In the East Franconian city, their interest in the fusion of dance theatre and politics was stoked. Consequently,  their attention was drawn to the field of dance education and performance, establishing themself as a freelance artist in 2009. and  creating pieces for the Staatstheater Nürnberg, the Neues Museum Nürnberg and dance festivals in Brazil. Some collaborations involved the Théâtre National de l’Opéra Comique in Paris, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Staatstheater Berlin, Staatstheater Darmstadt, and Steptext Projects in Bremen. In addition, Leonardo worked and performed productions directed by Yoshi Oida  former Peter Brook company member.

Leonardo drew his inspiration from choreographers such as Rui Horta, Javier de Frutos, Stijn Celis, André Gingras, Rodolfo Leoni, Jorma Elo, Lionel Hoche, Jorge Silva, Luiz Arrieta, Jonathan Lunn, and Jean Renshaw.

Leonardo has collaborated intensively with CocoonDance as a choreographic assistant, researching creations and co-directing the Junior Company in Bonn. Meanwhile, the artist performed for Paula Rosolen/Haptic Hide in Frankfurt and Tokyo and Marcelo Evelin/Demolition Incorporada residence in Teresina/Brazil. In February 2019, Leonardo started cooperating with Iván Pérez as rehearsal director and choreographic assistant for the Dance Theatre Heidelberg

Since 2021, Leonardo has continued their growing interest in developing their personal work and collaborations, including a residence with Laura Hicks and production support and partnership for projects with the company Inter-Actions and Migration Hub Heidelberg

Dance dissemination

Aiming to develop artistically, Leonardo completed a Master of Arts in Contemporary Dance Education in the MA CoDE program at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts with several scholarships. My final study project was a dissertation seeking to inquire how labour market changes affect programs in higher dance education in Germany.

As a dance instructor, Leonardo focuses strongly on somatic approaches, release techniques and body alignment while developing his classes through teaching eclectic target groups. He also delivered professional training at Mousonturm in Frankfurt, ZAIK in Cologne, at the DOCH – School of Dance and Circus at Stockholm University of Arts, North Karelia College Outokumpu, Finland, and the Fundação Cultural do Estado da Bahia (FUNCEB), Brazil.

MA Dance Education


Effects of Labour Market Changes on Professional Dance Education

A Case Study

Leonardo Rodrigues Santos


Developing in concert with the EU and the Bologna reforms, the professional dance education system in Germany is clearly connected to the field it means to serve as it prepares students to become professional dancers. Leonardo’s dissertation seeks to inquire how labour market changes affect programmes in higher professional dance education in Germany.

Changes are already apparent during the early stages of BA studies, and hence that is the focus of this research. Looking at the financial support for the cultural and Creative industries and its effects on the German market, the research then examines the pragmatic effects on two dance programmes — the BAtanz\ZuKT at Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts (HfMDK Frankfurt) and the BA in Dance, Context, and Choreography at the Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT) — conducting interviews not only with professionals from the labour market but also educators and students from the two programmes. By evaluating the programs in relation to market parameters, this study examines how themes such as employability, networking, and entrepreneurship are included in the educational discourse of both programs.

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