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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Alan Alder

c. 1970 (printed 2012)
Janice McIllree

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 25.3 cm x 20.1 cm, image: 17.7 cm x 12.6 cm)

Alan Alder (1937–2019), dancer and ballet teacher, began his career studying tap and Scottish highland dancing in Canberra. Winning a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London in 1957, he studied there for a short time before working for a year with the Covent Garden Opera Ballet. In 1958 he joined the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet. He was promoted to soloist and toured with the company throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa over the next four years. In 1963 he returned to Australia to join The Australian Ballet as a senior soloist. Promoted to principal artist in 1969, he was a guest artist with the company from 1978 to 1980, dancing the lead in productions including Threshold, Sebastian, Giselle, Lady and the Fool, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Yugen and Carmen. Alder married fellow dancer Lucette Aldous in 1972; they were photographed in their velvet and fur wedding outfits for the Women's Weekly. In the mid-1970s they travelled on invitation to study teaching methods in St Petersburg. Following his departure from The Australian Ballet, Alder taught part-time at the Victorian College of the Arts. From 1983 to 1991 he was head of the dance department at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, and then taught at the Perth Graduate College of Dance. In 2004, Alder and Aldous were jointly recognised as State Living Treasures.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Janice McIllree 2012
© Janice McIllree

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Janice McIllree (age 35 in 1970)

Alan Alder (age 33 in 1970)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Janice McIllree (5 portraits)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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