David McAllister on his career and the importance of dance

  • Date recorded: 26 Jul 2019

  • Duration: 38:58

I see the great future for dance in Australia being not only going to the ballet and seeing a show but interacting with ballet, dance. In the most general terms, to really excite and enlighten and engage the future of Australia.

– David McAllister AM

About this video

Watch the 2019 Redmond Barry Lecture presented by David McAllister AM on his career as a principal artist and Artistic Director at the Australian Ballet, and the importance of dance.

David recollects with humour and verve his journey from childhood ballet classes to artistic highs onstage in Australia and overseas. He also discusses his career change to the role of Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet and the importance of dance in Australia, both culturally and in relation to health and wellbeing.

About the speaker

Born in Perth, David McAllister AM joined the Australian Ballet in 1983 and was promoted to principal artist in 1989. During his time with the company, he danced many principal roles, including in The sleeping beauty, Don Quixote, Coppélia, Manon, La Sylphide, John Cranko's Onegin and Romeo and Juliet, and Jiří Kylián's Stepping stones. In 1985 he won Bronze at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow.

Throughout his career, David made numerous guest appearances worldwide, dancing with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Georgian State Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and, in 1992, as part of a Royal Gala performance in London in the presence of the Princess of Wales.

In 2000, he completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts and Entertainment Management and in 2001, took his final bow as a dancer. In July of that year, David became Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet. He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2004 Australia Day Honours List. In 2015, David premiered a new production of The sleeping beauty for the Australian Ballet.

About the Redmond Barry Lecture

This annual lecture honours the work of Sir Redmond Barry, founder of the State Library and a key figure in the development of Australia’s cultural and intellectual life.