Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

Menu

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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

The Dance - David McAllister

2016
Peter Brew-Bevan

inkjet print on paper (frame: 89.0 cm x 186.0 cm, image: 83.0 cm x 183.0 cm)

David McAllister AC (b. 1963), dancer and former artistic director of the Australian Ballet, began studying ballet in Perth in the early 1970s. Having weathered harassment 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 and was promoted to principal artist with the company in 1989. 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 he writes that highlights of his tenure include choreographing a new production of Sleeping Beauty (2015), 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.

The concept for Peter Brew-Bevan's photograph was based on Matisse's The Dance and features four dancers from the Australian Ballet. As the photographer recalled, 'I wanted to create a kinetic energy, a perfect storm around David, so we created the blurred chaos.' In the image, McAllister is captured looking down at the rings on his finger, which belonged to his mother and grandmother.

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

Supported by

The Stuart Leslie Foundation (1 portrait supported)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Brooke Lockett, Heidi Martin, Karen Nanasca, Halaina Hills; New York, 2012 Lisa Tomasetti
Brooke Lockett, Heidi Martin, Karen Nanasca, Halaina Hills; New York, 2012 Lisa Tomasetti
Brooke Lockett, Heidi Martin, Karen Nanasca, Halaina Hills; New York, 2012 Lisa Tomasetti
Brooke Lockett, Heidi Martin, Karen Nanasca, Halaina Hills; New York, 2012 Lisa Tomasetti

Dance like everyone’s watching

About Face article

8 September 2020

Penelope Grist’s spirits soar with Lisa Tomasetti’s Dancers in the Streets series.

The Dance - David McAllister
The Dance - David McAllister
The Dance - David McAllister
The Dance - David McAllister

Home is where the art is

About Face article

9 June 2020

Tedi Bills on how social media in the age of COVID-19 has fanned the flames of our portrait fascination.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency