American Ballet Theater principal David Hallberg has been appointed the new artistic director of the Melbourne-based Australian Ballet. He succeeds David McAllister, who has helmed the institution for nearly twenty years, and will begin his position in January 2021.
Since 2010, Hallberg was been a guest artist at the Australian Ballet, which has an annual budget of $46 million and troupe of around eighty dancers. He became its first international resident artist in 2017, after recovering from a serious injury to his ankle which forced him to take a two-year hiatus from the stage.
“We wanted someone who had a real cultural affinity with Australia, and with David, we have someone who has spent an important time in his life here, and who really knows, understands and loves the country,” said Craig Dunn, the chairman of the Australian Ballet board, to the New York Times.
Hallberg has previously served as the principal guest artist at the Royal Opera House in London and as a principal dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Since 2018, the thirty-seven-year old has directed ABT Incubator, a two-week choreography program, but has no formal experience directing a dance company.
Commenting on his appointment, Hallberg said: “I have been thinking about how I would curate, how I would nurture dancers, what kind of environment I want to create. I have been an avid spectator, watching work—not just ballet—everywhere, observing companies and directors with great attention.” He added, that he will also focus on community outreach to further integrate the company into Australian culture.