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Sketchbook journal for the commission portrait "The Dance - David McAllister"

2016
Peter Brew-Bevan

48 page journal with 25 illustrated pages in pencil, pastel, ink and collage of printed images with masking tape (closed: 21.0 cm x 15.0 cm)

David McAllister AC (b. 1963), dancer and former artistic director of the Australian Ballet, was born in Perth and began studying ballet in the early 1970s. Having weathered harassment from both schoolmates and teachers for his love of dance, at seventeen he left for Melbourne and further training at the Australian Ballet School. He joined the Australian Ballet in 1983, won bronze at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1985, and was promoted to principal artist with the company in 1989. Working under successive artistic directors Maina Gielgud and Ross Stretton, McAllister's major roles included those in Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, La Fille mal gardee, Don Quixote, The Sentimental Bloke, Coppelia, Manon, La Sylphide, Sinfonietta and Stepping Stones. As a guest artist he has danced with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Singapore Dance Theatre, among other companies. After making his final appearance as dancer in Giselle in 2001 he became the Australian Ballet's artistic director shortly afterwards. During twenty years in this role, McAllister helped to transform the company into one of the best dance companies in the world. In his 2020 memoir Soar: A Life Freed by Dance he writes that highlights of his tenure include choreographing a new production of Sleeping Beauty (2015), commissioning new works, supporting local choreographers and introducing a maternity leave policy and a health and wellness team. Since retiring in 2020, he has choreographed a new Swan Lake (2021) for the Finnish National Ballet.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned with funds provided by The Stuart Leslie Foundation 2016
© Peter Brew-Bevan

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

Peter Brew-Bevan (age 47 in 2016)

David McAllister AC (age 53 in 2016)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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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.

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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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