Calgary's most recognized tango dancer, Leo Sato, spent much of his youth art training as a competitive bodybuilder under the tutelage of Ken Suemitsu (1972 IFBB Mr. Universe Gold medallist). It was through his guidance that Leo went on to win a championship. It was at this time that Leo was first introduced to dance. Suemitsu had been a ballroom dance instructor before embarking on his successful bodybuilding career. Suemitsu taught Leo that bodybuilding was not only about body size and mass, but also about balance, composition, coordination and choreography. These insights became the foundation for Leo’s passion as an artist and choreographer. Whether bodybuilding or dancing, Leo believes the spirit of creativity resides within the artist, no matter what the medium.
After retiring from bodybuilding, Leo first re-focused his passion and commitment to dance. It was a few years later when Leo first encountered Tango in San Francisco under the instruction of Pampa Cortes (appears in Julio Iglesias's Tango CD jacket). Having studied dance for many years in the US, Leo decided to conduct a tour from Mexico City to Colombia and on to Buenos Aires. Although Tango had not been Leo's first love, his contact with the hundreds of enthusiastic locals he met on his travels helped to quickly change all that.
Despite his extensive experience with the world of dance, his true love now lies with Tango. After spending many years growing and cultivating his love for the dance, Leo is determined to introduce this beautiful art form to all those he meets in North America. In Buenos Aires, where Tango was born.
Today Leo is an enthusiastic instructor and mentor to hundreds of students at various Calgary studios. Leo and his partner perform at numerous prestigious events throughout the city. Leo’s passion and innovation has led to the creation of several sold-out events in the city, including Dinner and Tango Evenings, Tango, Salsa y Merengue Nights and the ever popular Tango Gala. Leo was the Artistic Director / Lead Dancer of Rhythm of Peace (2004), Tango Temptation (2006), and Carnaval Latino (2007). He is the proud founder of Calgary's authentic tango orchestra, Orquesta Libertango. Leo was also selected by Luciana Pedraza (the lead dancer/actress of two time Oscar winner, Robert Duvall's film, Assassination Tango) to work with during her stay in Calgary.
Leo recently completed a performance with world class Ukrainian Dance Professionals, Shumka, at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, as a guest choreographer and the headliner of Girl in the Red Dress. He also choreographed the tango scene for the British film, Burn Up, in which Neve Campbell was the lead actress. In one of his most recent accomplishments, Leo danced to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring legendary bandoneonist Daniel Binelli in 2008. Binelli praised Leo's dance so much that he has invited Leo to tour with his company.
Leo Sato's performance videos