Star US dancer Hallberg to take over top Australian Ballet post

Sydney (AFP) –


American Ballet Theater principal dancer David Hallberg has been appointed the new artistic director of the Australian Ballet, the company announced Tuesday.

Hallberg, 37, the first American to be a premier dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet, was also the first international resident guest artist at the Australian Ballet, a position he has held for a decade.

"During this time I have fallen in love with Australia, its people and this wonderful ballet company," he said in a statement.

"It is a great honour to join this iconic cultural institution as its next Artistic Director."

Australian Ballet chair Craig Dunn said Hallberg -- also a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater -- would bring a "unique artistic lens and global view" to the role.

"David's appointment heralds an exciting new era for both the Australian Ballet and for dance in Australia," he said.

He will take over from current artistic director, David McAllister, who is set to retire in December after almost 20 years in the role.