Behind the Scenes with BMD: Before the Fall
MEET HUMPTY DUMPTY!
INTERVIEW WITH ALVIN TOVSTOGRAY, HUMPTY DUMPTY, IN THE UPCOMING WORLD PREMIERE OF A CHILDREN’S BALLET STORY, “BEFORE THE FALL.”
Alvin, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in the Ukraine. I received my ballet education at the Dnipropetrovsk State Choreographic School under Viacheslav Volkov. In 2008, after graduating from high school and the ballet academy, I went to the Youth America Grand Prix finals in New York, where I received a full two-year scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School. In 2010 I moved to Washington DC to dance with The Washington Ballet Studio Company.
How did you get interested in dance?
I was eight-years old when my parents brought me to an audition at a ballet school. I’ve never left since…
How would you characterize your approach to dance?
I am a workaholic… It is almost impossible to achieve success in dance without hard work and concentration. Experimenting and creating new movement is something I have been exploring lately. During the past couple of years I have been fortunate to participate in some outstanding contemporary works that have made me look at dancing from a different angle.
You received a gold medal at a competition recently. Can you tell us what that was?
I went to Berlin a few weeks ago to take part in the Tanzolymp Ballet Competition. I have received a Gold medal in Classical Ballet’s Senior Men’s category. It was a great experience! I made new friends and got to see the town a little bit.
How are you enjoying playing the role of Humpty Dumpty?
Humpty Dumpty is a difficult role to play. There is a lot to it, not only on the technical side. My character’s personality changes from a being a hooligan to being modest and back to being a bully multiple times! I find those transitions very interesting and exciting.
What’s it like working with Lucy Bowen McCauley?
This is my first time working with Lucy Bowen McCauley. It is also my first ballet as a main character, so there is a lot for me to learn and discover. Lucy is very organized and always prepared for rehearsals. She also allows me freedom to insert some of my personality into the dance, to transform my feelings into movement, substitute a step or two that are interesting, appropriate.
Have you ever been bullied yourself?
We live in a tough world, I would say. I’ve had to face a number of conflicting situations that could not be resolved easily. My way to manage bullies is to stay calm and try to dictate the pace of the conversation.
What’s next for you?
I am now fully involved in working on The Washington Ballet’s new ALICE (in wonderland). I’m really excited to see the ballet on stage in a few weeks! This season is close to the end and I am hoping to go home during the summer, reunite with my family, friends, get some rest and prepare for the next season! And, of course, I can’t wait to perform Humpty Dumpty in Lucy Bowen McCauley dance at the end of May!