David Hallberg will become the new artistic director of the Australian Ballet, taking over from former principal dancer David McAllister, who has directed the company for two decades.
Hallberg’s last performances as a dancer will be in 2021, when he will fulfil previous commitments, culminating in a farewell gala with American Ballet Theatre.
He spent many months with the Australian Ballet in Melbourne after an injury in 2014 that kept him away from the stage for more than two years. His rehabilitation (both physically and mentally) was in Australia, and his return to dancing was with the company. At 37, he brings a wealth of knowledge from performing with companies throughout the world, a broad experience of the arts (and a genuine passion) that goes beyond ballet, and a sharp intelligence.
In an interview with The New York Times, he said:
I have felt that calling to try to make a contribution to pushing the dance world forward almost as strongly as I felt a calling to become a dancer… I felt satiated on a certain level as a dancer, and very ready for this transition.
My shows are numbered. There are lots of things I never got around to as a dancer, but it’s time to accept that and move on.
Come January 2021, it won’t be about me anymore; it will be about this institution and its dancers.
On Twitter, Hallberg wrote:
I am thrilled to share that I will become the next Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet starting January 2021.
I am excited at the opportunity to finally realize an artistic vision and it feels like the right place and the right time to get to work doing so. I have had such amazing opportunities throughout my career and I am so ready to funnel that into a company I so love and respect. I have had a long 10 year history with the company, first as a Guest Artist, then using the expertise of the world renowned Medical Team (which was all explained in the book!) and finally as Resident Guest Artist. This appointment makes so much sense in many ways.
It has been a long and eventful (to say the least) career and I have always known that the time will come where I take all of my absorbed experience and become an Artistic Director. This is the time. I can’t wait to realize my ambitious vision for the future of this essential art form with an institution that I so deeply love and respect. See you in Australia!
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.