28 April 2021 17:13

The Royal Academy of Dance today announced it has awarded its highest honour, the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, to David McAllister AM. David, immediate past Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet and a Vice-President of the RAD, was bestowed with this award in recognition of his contribution to The Australian Ballet as a dancer and director, as well as being a vital supporter and advocate for dance.

The QEII Coronation Award was instituted in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the first recipient, in 1954, was Dame Ninette de Valois. Since then it has been awarded to many of the greatest names in dance, in recognition of outstanding services to the art form. Former recipients include Dame Marie Rambert DBE, Sir Frederick Ashton, Rudolf Nureyev and Carlos Acosta CBE. Most recently, in 2019, it was awarded to Karen Kain.

The award was presented to David at a special lunch gala organised by the Friends of The Australian Ballet in Sydney. Unbeknown to David, this event was a special occasion, marking the end of his incredible tenure at the company and the perfect opportunity to surprise him with this coveted award. The QEII medal was presented to David by Dame Darcey Bussell DBE (joining virtually) and Audrey Nicholls OAM FRAD.

Dame Darcey Bussell DBE, President of the RAD enthused: “I am absolutely thrilled that David is receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, the highest honour the Royal Academy of Dance can bestow, given in recognition of outstanding service to the art of dance.”

David McAllister danced with the Australian Ballet for 20 years and then became Artistic Director of that Company for a further 20 years and during his tenure, the international reputation of The Australian Ballet has grown immeasurably.

Luke Rittner CBE, Chief Executive of the RAD commented: “The QEII Award is the Royal Academy of Dance’s most esteemed award, presented to those who have made a significant contribution to the dance industry and the art form we all care for deeply. As we look back at David McAllister’s incredible career at The Australian Ballet and all that he has done to advocate for ballet across the world, I am thrilled that he will join this list of eminent choreographers, dancers, directors and teachers who have shaped the world of dance.”