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David McAllister

In their own words

Recorded 2017

David McAllister
Audio: 2 minutes

I was one of those weird kids that just always wanted to dance. My family, you know, are fantastic; they're wonderful people. Dad was an accountant, Mum was my mum and I have brothers and sisters that there's no artistic sort of dance background in our family at all. So, I was this sort of mutant child who, you know, used to dance around the house all the time and I used to dance in front of the TV when the TV was off so I could see myself, you know, moving around. And whenever there was a family gathering, I was always putting on a show and annoying the hell out of everyone. So, I guess it was in my DNA and I didn't really have a plan B. I’d started training when I was seven. I didn't realize that all the other boys at school wouldn't think it was quite as cool as what I did. So, that was, a life journey. But yeah, I just love to dance. And I guess ballet, because I saw some ballet on TV, which was Rudolf Nureyev doing Don Quixote with the Australian Ballet. And I went, Oh, that's the sort of dance I want to do. And then I went to a ballet school and 10 years later I was in Melbourne at the Australian Ballet School. And two years later I joined the company.

I've got to say the first time I saw that portrait, I was just in awe really. I'd seen all of the preparatory work that Peter had done through his journals and diaries and things, and he talked a lot about it. So, I guess I knew that the dance element would be as it was, and it was incredibly beautiful. But I had no idea of what I'd look like. And it was really, really amazing. He caught a moment that sort of not, I guess what people would think necessarily is a former dancer and, a, you know, artistic director, because we tend to be on, you know, sort of like ‘Welcome to the ballet’. And it was sort of more of a pensive moment. And I really liked that ’cos, you know, I feel like it's the side of me that sometimes people don't get to see. And so it's beautiful that it's the side that he's shown.

Acknowledgements

This recording was made during interviews for the National Portrait Gallery's Portrait Stories series.

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David McAllister AC

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