Leandro Prado’s Story
Altamira, Pará, Brazil
Company Member Since 2016
I started dancing pretty late, I was 15 years old. Once I started, I always looked up to and was inspired by famous male figures in the dance world like Mikhail Baryshnikov and Manuel Legris.
I always liked dancing since I was a kid, and a friend from school invited me to watch a performance and that’s when I fell in love even more with dancing — ballet in particular. Right after watching this performance I started taking my first dance classes.
Most of the stereotypes regarding boys who dance are that all men are gay. When you’re from a small town, like Altamira, Pará, Brazil, boys dancing is still considered a taboo and culture and arts is not something that is taken very seriously. For the most part I kept my dancing a secret from most of my family, friends and people from my school. Once they found out I was dancing I felt very ashamed of what I was doing, mainly because they couldn’t understand me. All of my friends in high school wanted to be doctors, architects, or lawyers, etc… But I always liked dancing no matter what style, so I started taking dance classes at this social project for culture and arts called “Ballet Art.” I also started looking for ballet schools and where I could go to follow my dream. I knew that I wanted to be a ballet dancer and I just had to push through all that shame that I was feeling and not listen to what others had to say. It was hard because when you are young and you have people shaming you for something that you like, you just want to give it up. However, I knew I could do it because I love dancing. One year later I auditioned during a dance competition at the capital (Belém), where I got a scholarship for a ballet school in Rio de Janeiro. When I was 16 years-old I moved there to start my ballet training.
Throughout my ballet training I had a couple of male teachers and they all helped me in a lot different ways, but I feel that I had the most growth with my career once I joined Ballet Jörgen. I feel like Bengt Jörgen has been and is an incredible mentor not just to me but to all the dancers at Ballet Jörgen.
I love the freedom, the energy and feeling of happiness that dance gives me, but also the discipline that is needed to for your body and the style of dance that you are doing.
I would like to tell all the boys to follow their dreams no matter what other people think. A career in dance is so short and you shouldn’t spend that time trying to convince others that dancing is what makes you happy. Dance gives you a wealth of knowledge and experiences that is extremely useful in life. Love it with all you have and be humble.