David McAllister, who led The Australian Ballet as Artistic Director for 20 years until 2020, has been recognised with a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

The AC – which is the highest of the Queen’s Birthday Honours – was awarded to McAllister for “eminent service to the performing arts, particularly to ballet both nationally and internationally, to artistic directorship and dance education, and as a mentor”.

David McAllister. Photograph © Georges Antoni for The Australian Ballet

McAllister was one of only five to receive a Companion in the General Division. It is the latest of several prestigious honour bestowed on McAllister this year. In April, he was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award– the highest award from the Royal Academy of Dance. The following month, he received the 2020 JC Williamson Award, one of the Helpmann Industry Achievement Awards.

McAllister joined The Australian Ballet as a dancer in 1983, rising through the ranks to become a Principal Artist in 1989. He danced with the company until 2001, and was then appointed as Artistic Director. He wrote about...