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Friday 14 March 2014 – Friday 27 June 2014

David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, brings the beauty and artistry of dance to The Johnston Collection in his rearrangement of Fairhall house-museum in March 2014.

Applying his sensibility and energy to the Collection, David McAllister Rearranges Mr Johnston’s Collection, which runs from 14 March to 25 June 2014, will give visitors to Fairhall an opportunity to view the Collection through the eyes and aesthetic of this exceptionally talented artistic director and dancer.

It was Melbourne-born antique dealer and benefactor William Johnston’s wish that his East Melbourne home, Fairhall, be regularly rearranged. Past rearrangements have included those by fashion designer, Akira Isogawa, architect, Pascale Gomes McNabb, fashion-house, Romance Was Born and, most recently, by Melbourne artist Rosslynd Piggott. This series of rearrangements provides an opportunity to reinterpret William Johnston’s extraordinary collection in new ways and The Johnston Collection is thrilled to have David McAllister to continue this exciting series.

David McAllister rejects the notion of ballet as an elitist pursuit. As an artistic director, his vision is to make ballet more inclusive and to this end, he is committed to reinterpreting major ballets in new and unexpected contexts. Thus, McAllister was delighted to accept the invitation to interpret William Johnston’s collection at Fairhall, seeing the collaboration as an opportunity to take ballet to a new more diverse audience.

In David McAllister Rearranges Mr Johnston’s Collection house-museum tour, McAllister will transform the interior of Fairhall into a series of enchanting spaces inspired by classical ballets, from Swan Lake to Sleeping Beauty. McAllister’s rearrangement will use Fairhall as a site and the pieces in the Collection, to construct representations of nine classical ballets, conveying the stories and exploring the themes of each work.
Each room in Fairhall will be based on a particular ballet. The Green Drawing Room on the ground floor, for example, will explore the timeless themes of love and money, based on The Merry Widow and its tale of manners and morals in Parisian high-society.

The White Room, will draw its themes of vengeful love, opium dreams and apparitions from La Bayadere, a ballet with an exuberant mix of temple dancers, angry gods and scheming villains.

Upstairs in the Study, a woodland sprite and a bewitched man set the scene, based on La Sylphide and in the Yellow Room, McAllister will create a dream-like interior based on the Sleeping Beauty
Into each of these ballet-inspired rooms, costumes - some quietly opulent , others more richly embellished - designed for the Australian Ballet by Akira Isogawa, Desmond Heeley and John F Macfarlane, will be introduced, bringing Fairhall and William Johnston’s collection to life.

McAllister says : “When I first went to Fairhall I was so inspired. Each room reminded me of certain ballets that I have danced and so the concept came from the House. I think Mr Johnson might have been whispering in my ear?”

David McAllister Rearranges Mr Johnston’s Collection house-museum tour intersects the worlds of classical ballet and the fine and decorative arts and gives visitors to Fairhall the opportunity to view William Johnston’s collection through the visual imagination of one of Australia’s most acclaimed artistic directors and dancers.

For further information, images or interviews, please contact:
Felicity Cook or Fil Natarelli
Telephone 03 9416 2515 Email

About David McAllister AM

A graduate of The Australian Ballet School, Perth-born David McAllister joined The Australian Ballet in 1983. He was promoted to Senior Artist in 1986 and to Principal Artist in January 1989. His many principal roles with the company included those in Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, La Fille mal gardée, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, The Sentimental Bloke, Coppélia, Manon, La Sylphide, Sinfonietta and Stepping Stones. In 1985 he won a Bronze Medal at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow, which saw him invited to return to the USSR as a guest artist where he made numerous appearances with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Georgian State Ballet and other companies.

In 1989 David was guest artist with The National Ballet of Canada, dancing John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet as well as Etudes and The Four Temperaments. He has also been a guest artist with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Singapore Dance Theatre. In London 1992, he took part in the Royal Gala performance of Coppélia in the presence of the Princess of Wales.

David has worked as a guest teacher with The Australian Ballet School, The Dancers Company, the Royal Academy of Dancing, the Cecchetti Society, and the Australian Institute of Classical Dance. In November 2000, he completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts and Entertainment Management at Deakin University. David McAllister danced for the final time in Giselle on 24 March 2001 at the Sydney Opera House and became Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet in July 2001.

He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2004 Australia Day Honours List and was elected Vice President of the Royal Academy of Dance in 2005.

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