David McAllister celebrates 30 years with The Australian Ballet

A treasured Australian dance icon marks three decades of dance.

The Australian Ballet today honoured Artistic Director David McAllister AM and his 30-year anniversary with the company.

The Board, dancers and staff surprised him in the studios of the company’s headquarters in Melbourne with cake, balloons and streamers, and the screening of a specially commissioned mini-documentary. The film features rare performance and interview footage and historical imagery from The Australian Ballet’s extensive vaults, along with interviews with some of his closest colleagues.

The Chair of The Australian Ballet, Jim Cousins AO, said David’s contribution to the Australian dance community could not be understated.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have someone like David at the helm of The Australian Ballet; he has a deep love of the art form and understands its traditions but is always looking for ways to keep ballet relevant to today’s audience,” said Cousins.

«He’s also a fantastic leader and well respected in the arts and dance community, both here and internationally. I don’t think you could find someone who has a bad word to say about him, and he remains as enthusiastic and passionate about the company and dance as he was 30 years ago, which is just remarkable.”


  • 1983 Joins The Australian Ballet
  • 1985 Wins a Bronze Medal at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow
  • 1986 Promoted to senior artist. Partners Elizabeth Toohey in Don Quixote at Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet
  • 1988 Partners Elizabeth Toohey in Grand Tarantella at the Kirov Ballet
  • 1989 Promoted to principal artist
  • 1992 Performs Coppélia at the Royal Gala in London in the presence of Princess Diana
  • 1995 Dances in the premiere season of Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly opposite Vicki Attard
  • 2001 Dances for the final time in Giselle. Becomes Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet
  • 2002 Commissions Graeme Murphy to create a new Swan Lake to mark the company’s 40th anniversary, which goes on to be a flagship work for The Australian Ballet
  • 2004 Awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2004 Australia Day Honours List Launches the emerging choreographers series Bodytorque
  • 2005 Tours The Australian Ballet to London where the company receives a UK Critics Circle Award for Best Touring Company
  • 2007 Leads The Australian Ballet to become the first performing arts company in Australia to simultaneously broadcast a performance into regional cinemas and across live-sites with The Nutcracker
  • 2010 Secures an $8 million donation from The Ian Potter Foundation towards the redevelopment of the company’s Melbourne headquarters, the largest donation in The Australian Ballet’s history Tours two distinctly Australian works to Japan – Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker – The Story of Clara and Swan Lake
  • 2012 Delivers an extraordinary year of activity both on and off the stage as The Australian Ballet turns 50, including the commission of five new works and a major tour to New York
  • 2013 Celebrates a 30-year career with The Australian Ballet
David McAllister celebrates 30 years with The Australian Ballet | Danza Ballet
David McAllister celebrates 30 years with The Australian Ballet
David McAllister celebrates 30 years with The Australian Ballet | Danza Ballet
David McAllister Photo: Georges Antoni


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