Join acclaimed ballet dancer David McAllister AM as he delivers the 2019 Redmond Barry lecture 'Ballet: not just tutus and tiaras'. When David was growing up in the 1960s and 70s it seemed that every little boy wanted to be a sports star and every little girl wanted to be a ballerina; he was an outlier pushing against social convention, much to the scorn of his peers and the hierarchy at his conservative Catholic school. Now, after a brilliant career spanning decades with the Australian Ballet and the Australian Ballet School, David reveals how the world of ballet is far more challenging and diverse than its delicate 'tutus and tiaras' image suggests.
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 Jirí Kylián's Stepping stones. In 1985 he won Bronze at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow. 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.
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.