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photographed by Greg Barrett.
From "Tutu," published by Allen & Unwin.
Flash News, 8-31: TAB
Dancer Named Director in Australia
By Simone Clifford
Copyright 2000 Simone Clifford
-- The Australian Ballet, one of the leading ballet companies in
the world, yesterday tapped 36-year-old principal dancer David McAllister
to succeed Ross Stretton as artistic director, effective at the
beginning of the 2001-2002 season.
McAllister is known among
dancers for his devotion to the company, which he has served unflinchingly
since 1983, when he graduated from the Australian Ballet school.
He was made a principal artist in 1989 by then-artistic director
Dancers contacted yesterday
were thrilled that someone from their ranks had been selected. Gielgud,
who directed TAB for 12 years, was delighted at the news.
"Since I have always
felt, and said, that I was developing future artistic directors
and artistic staff as well as dancers and choreographers, this is
a special moment for me, the first of 'mine' to become AD," Gielgud,
reached in London, told The Dance Insider today. "I am extremely
happy for the company, as although he does not have previous experience
of directing a company, David is very intelligent, has always been
interested in 'how the wheels turn,' and has tremendous enthusiasm
and boundless energy."
has also extended to the realm of administration; he has been studying
for a graduate diploma in arts and entertainment management at Deakin
The native of Perth,
Australia, won the gold medal in the 1985 International Ballet Competition
in Moscow, one of only three male Australians ever to capture the
Mel Ward, TAB board chairman,
told Melbourne's morning paper The Age that the company had scoured
the world to find the best available artistic director before unanimously
picking McAllister from a short list of five candidates.
Ward said he was confident
that McAllister would continue the direction set under Gielgud and
strengthened by Stretton, who leaves TAB next season to take the
reigns at London's Royal Ballet.
McAllister could not
be reached for comment at presstime. He told The Age that his vision
for TAB is to maintain a balance between contemporary and classical
ballet, that classical ballet will always be the company's most
important concern as well, and that it needs to develop new classics
for the future. He said he would like to develop the company by
collaborating with artists from other art forms.
The company will send
McAllister abroad for several months early next year, to catch up
on the dance scene and reacquaint himself with contacts from his
time dancing with other troupes.
Paul Ben-Itzak contributed
additional reporting to this story.
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