David McAllister (dancer)

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David Graeme McAllister (AC)
Born (1963-11-25) 25 November 1963 (age 58)
EducationAustralian Ballet School
OccupationDancer, artistic director
Known forFormer Principal dancer with The Australian Ballet
AwardsQueen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal, Centenary Medal

David Graeme McAllister AC (born 25 November 1963)[1] is the former Artistic Director and Principal Dancer of The Australian Ballet.


David McAllister was born in 1963 in Perth, Western Australia. A graduate of the Australian Ballet School, he joined The Australian Ballet in 1983. He was promoted to Senior Artist in 1986 and to Principal Artist in 1989. His many principal roles with the company included those in Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, La Fille mal gardée, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, The Sentimental Bloke, Coppélia, and Manon.[2]

In 1985, he won a Bronze Medal at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow, which saw him invited to return to the USSR as a guest artist, where he made numerous appearances with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Georgian National Ballet and other companies.[3] In 1989 David was guest artist with The National Ballet of Canada, dancing John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet as well as Etudes and The Four Temperaments. He has also been a guest artist with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Singapore Dance Theatre. In London 1992, he took part in the Royal Gala performance of Coppélia in the presence of the Princess of Wales.[citation needed]

McAllister has worked as a guest teacher with the McDonald College, The Australian Ballet School, the Dancers Company, the Royal Academy of Dance, the Cecchetti Society, and the Australian Institute of Classical Dance. In November 2000, he completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts and Entertainment Management at Deakin University.[citation needed]

McAllister danced for the final time in Giselle on 24 March 2001 at the Sydney Opera House and became Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet in July 2001.[4] He was elected Vice President of the Royal Academy of Dance in 2005. In March 2020, it was announced that David Hallberg would succeed McAllister as the new artistic director of The Australian Ballet, effective January 2021.[5]


McAllister published his memoirs, SOAR: A Life Freed By Dance, in September 2020.[6][7]


In 2001, McAllister was awarded a Centenary Medal.[8]

In the 2004 Australia Day Honours List he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to ballet[9] and was promoted to Companion of the Order of Australia in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours on 14 June 2021.[10]

In April 2021, McAllister was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award by the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD).[11]


McAllister is as of 2021 the domestic partner of Australian playwright and artistic director Wesley Enoch.[11]


  1. ^ Oxford Reference
  2. ^ "McAllister, David (1963 - )". Archived from the original on 20 March 2012.
  3. ^ "David McAllister celebrates 30 years with The Australian Ballet - Dance Informa Magazine". dancemagazine.com.au. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  4. ^ Dunn, Amanda (19 February 2012). "Born to dance". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  5. ^ Sulcas, Roslyn (2 March 2020). "David Hallberg to Run The Australian Ballet". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  6. ^ Lawson, Valerie (5 June 2020). "Curtain call: ballet's departing David McAllister has written a memoir". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  7. ^ "New memoir by David McAllister - Dance Australia". www.danceaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Mr David Graeme McAllister [Centenary Medal]". It's An Honour. Archived from the original on 13 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Mr David Graeme McAllister [Member of the Order of Australia]". It's An Honour. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Mr David Graeme McAllister AM [Companion of the Order of Australia]". It's An Honour. Archived from the original on 13 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  11. ^ a b McLoughlin, Sean (28 April 2021). "David McAllister AM awarded the RAD's Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award". AussieTheatre.com. Retrieved 24 June 2021.