David Hallberg. Photo by Daniel Boud

Today The Australian Ballet announced the appointment of David Hallberg as its next Artistic Director, to succeed David McAllister, who will retire in December 2020. David Hallberg is one of the ballet world’s most exciting and unique talents and his appointment heralds an exciting new era for both The Australian Ballet and for dance in Australia.

David Hallberg is currently The Australian Ballet’s Resident Guest Artist and is a Principal Dancer with both American Ballet Theatre and The Bolshoi Ballet, as well as Principal Guest Artist with The Royal Ballet. David is very well known to our dancers, the company and our Australian audiences as he has been a regular visitor to Australia in the last ten years, both as Resident Guest Artist with The Australian Ballet and during a 14-month-long ‘residency’ during injury rehabilitation. It is our very good fortune that David has chosen to transition from his career as dancer to that of Artistic Director with The Australian Ballet.

David Hallberg made the following comment on his appointment: “It is a great honour to join this iconic cultural institution as its next Artistic Director. We have had a long history, first as an invited dancer, then seeking the expertise of its world-renowned medical team, and finally as its Resident Guest Artist. During this time I have fallen in love with Australia, its people and this wonderful ballet company. I am thrilled for the future of this Company, a Company that inspires me with its level of excellence and global standard. I look forward to using the experience I’ve garnered over my 20-year career around the world and funnelling it into the culture of The Australian Ballet. The future looks very bright for this world-class Company.”

David Hallberg and Natalia Osipova in Romeo and Juliet, photo by Andrej Uspenskie ROH
David Hallberg and Natalia Osipova in Romeo and Juliet, photo by Andrej Uspenskie ROH

Born in South Dakota, David Hallberg trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School and joined American Ballet Theatre in 2001, where he was appointed as Principal Dancer in 2006. He made history in 2011 when he became the first American to join the Bolshoi Ballet under the title Premier Dancer. David is currently performing as Principal Artist with the world’s leading dance companies – American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet and La Scala. He created The David Hallberg Scholarship at ABT, a mentorship for young aspiring male dancers and directs ABT Incubator, a workshop for emerging choreographic talent. He is the author of a critically acclaimed memoir, A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back.

The Australian Ballet has been delighting audiences and transforming lives for six decades. Under the leadership of current Artistic Director David McAllister, The Australian Ballet has enjoyed an unprecedented era of stability, growth and success – both artistically and through audience growth. We have consolidated our reputation internationally through diverse repertoire, have an extraordinary depth of talent to draw from and are ideally positioned for the next artistic chapter in our history. David Hallberg will bring a unique artistic lens and global view which will build on David McAllister’s extraordinary contribution to the success of Australia’s national ballet company.

While David Hallberg will not take up the role of our Artistic Director until next year, he will be in close contact with David McAllister and our Executive Director Libby Christie this year as we plan for the future. Preparation for our 2021 season is already well advanced to ensure a seamless transition and we look forward with great excitement to our first season under David Hallberg’s artistic leadership.