McDonald College hosts David McAllister

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David McAllister McDonald College masterclass

After almost 40 years atop The Australian Ballet, David McAllister is forging a freelance career that includes choreographing a new production of Swan Lake for the Finnish National Ballet, publishing his autobiography Soar and… taking the Elite Masterclass at the McDonald College during the Autumn holidays. 

Alongside the Queensland Ballet’s Rani Luther and McDonald College alumnus Natasha Crook (ex-Netherlands Dance Theatre), McAllister put 60 dancers through their paces over three days to April 14.

“It’s much more enjoyable teaching now because I’m NOT the artistic director of the Australian Ballet,” McAllister said. “I still love being around dancers.” 

The fully-subscribed series attracted children of varying standards from dance schools around Sydney and interstate. They did not have to audition for entry. “Talent does emerge from all sorts of places, you never know,” he said.

McAllister’s final season at TAB in 2020, which was to have celebrated some of the many highlights of his long tenure there both as a dancer and as the artistic director, was largely cancelled due to Coronavirus. After so many years fully-immersed in the elite dance world he is remarkably sanguine about how that part of his career drew to a close.

“I had a lot of time at home by myself and I thought, it’s okay, I can do this,” he said.

Luther taught participants an excerpt from her Queensland Ballet choreography and Crook returned to the studio for the first time in 15 years to teach an excerpt from Jiří Kylián’s Falling Angels. McAllister taught the students Cygnets from Swan Lake and variations from The Sleeping Beauty

He said he enjoyed working with the children. “All of us have that child within. I remember the fear of not being good enough so if you give them the opportunity to feel comfortable the magic glow comes forward,” he said.

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