Alexander Ivashkevich – the studio`s organizer and leader
Alexander Ivashkevich is an actor of the Russian Theater in Tallinn, Estonia, a tap dancer, a choreographer and the teacher of “Duff Tap Studio” (he had taught in the USA, Austria. Sweden, Finland, the UK and Russia).
Alexander made his first steps in dance independently; nobody showed him what was right and how to do it. He danced as he could, or, rather, how he felt: there was no technique, but a strong desire to dance which came from the bottom of his soul. He was sure that tap dance was what he really needed. He was 28 years old, the age at which one would seem to be too old to start from nothing, but fortunately that was not an impediment for such a purposeful and a persistent person.
"Tap dance is freedom, because I am my own master in this dance. It is getting rid of bad energy and an accumulation of good one" – says Alexander in one of his numerous interviews. He graduated from the Theatre Art College in Kharkov (Ukraine) in 1982 and worked simultaneously with his studying in the Russian Theatre of Kharkov in years 1980-1982. Then he worked in the National Theatre in Kharkov, in The Latvian Baltic Fleet Theatre in Liepaja (Latvia), in Kaliningrad (Russia). Since the year 1985 which makes it 22 years already he has lived and worked in Tallinn, being one of the leading actors of the Russian Theatre in Estonia.
In 1988 Alexander Ivashkevich met Juri Gusakov in Moscow. Gusakov is a dancer from the legendary duet of Gusakovs brothers (film "The Carnival Night"). Just then he was taught the first ten basic steps of tap dance. Before that he danced more intuitively. After that Alexander continued to cope with that kind of art of dancing independently. In 1991 Oleg Fedotkin (Russia) staged the first dance for him.
However, after the visit of American Tap Dance Orchestra in 1992, Alexander was invited to its tap dance school which gave him the opportunity to continue his dancing education and increase the level of tap dancing skills. After his return, Duff Tap Studio was established and Alexander Ivashkevich became its founder, leader and choreographer. At the same time Alexander taught tap dance, stage movement and fencing in the Estonians State Musical Academy on the actor`s pathway, and also was one of the pedagogues in the theater studio attached to the Russian Theater.
During the academic year 1996-1997, Alexander had worked in the US in the Academy of Arts, Dance, Music and Sport in New-York. He was also improving his qualifications in the Broadway Dance Centre. Thanks to the fact that Alexander’s teachers were leading tap dancers and his enormous experience of teaching, nowadays A. Ivashkevich can be named the only specialist in Estonia with such a high level of dance technique, who wants to impart it to the young generation.
Since 1995, Alexander has been the organizer, conductor and, of course, a participant of annual shows dedicated to the International Tap Dance, which is celebrated all over the world on the 25th of May.
In 1997, Alexander participated in the performance of Tallinn City Theatre "The Three penny Opera". (director A. Shapiro) as a choreographer. The next year Alexander was invited as the choreographer’s assistant in the American film "Out of the Cold". In 1998 he staged fencing scenes in the performance "Dangerous Liaisons" in the Drama Theater of Rakvere.
The same year he was invited to Sweden to participate in the dancing camp in Herrang. In 2002 Alexander collaborated with the Estonian Drama Theater in staging the "Old Curiosity Shop" as a choreographer. In 2001 he worked as a choreographer in the musical "No, No, Nanette!" in which his studio also took part. The same year he was called to participate in the First Tap Dance Festival "Tap City" in New-York. The Russian actor from Estonia, who performed tap dance and sang, made an indelible impression on American audience, and the next year he was invited to the Second New York International Tap Dance Festival.
Since year 1997, Alexander has been teaching tap dance at the choreographic department Tallinn University (former Tallinn Pedagogical University).
In year 2000 he was named the best male actor for his role of Prince Myshkin (Knyaz Myshkin) in "The Idiot" – a performance staged by the famous Moscow producer Juri Jerjomin. Already in 2001, Alexander Ivashkevich was named the first among the nominees on the festival "Drama 2001" which has been held in Tartu since 1996. Again, the leading role in "The Idiot" brought him the diploma and the prize of the festival which is the "Iron rose".
Besides his numerous parts in theater (Alexander Ivashkevich has had 48 roles), he has acted in films. 1980 he has had the leading role in the film "A Name on The Snow", in 1981 there was a supporting role in "The Sweet Name of Success", the same year he played the leading role in "The Last Cloud" and then after a ten-year break he played a leading role in the film "An Escape to The End of The World" that appeared in 1992. He had a role of a stunt man and a stunt producer in the film "He`ll get it hot", which was shot in Odessa in 1993. Currently Alexander Ivashkevich is occupied with rehearsals and present repertoire performances in the theater.
Despite this, he spends a lot of time in his Studio, working with pupils and preparing concerts and performances. Speaking about this, undoubtedly talented in many aspects person, it is impossible to treat him only as an actor or as a dancer. The two directions of his creativity are not parallel in his life but are tightly bound. They only show us, his spectators, the new sides of Alexander Ivashkevich`s talent, as he is an extremely energetic and active person, a masterful dancer and an outstanding drama actor.