Born in Perth, David McAllister joined The Australian Ballet in 1983 and was promoted to principal artist in 1989. During his time with the company, he danced many principal roles, including those in The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Manon, La Sylphide, John Cranko's Onegin and Romeo and Juliet, and Jiri Kylian's Stepping Stones; in 1985, he won bronze at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow. Throughout his career, McAllister made numerous guest appearances worldwide, dancing with Bolshoi Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Georgian State Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and, in 1992, as part of a Royal Gala performance in London in the presence of the Princess of Wales. In 2000, he completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts and Entertainment Management and in 2001 took his final bow as a dancer. In July of that year, McAllister became artistic director of The Australian Ballet. He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2004 Australia Day Honours List. In 2015, he premiered a new production of The Sleeping Beauty for The Australian Ballet. In 2020, McAllister will step down from his current position to take on freelance staging and choreographing ballets. He will be staging a new production of Swan Lake for the Finnish National Ballet in 2021. Amanda Dunn is the politics and society editor for The Conversation. Prior to that she was a reporter and editor with The Age for sixteen years.