John Anderson Ernest Alleyne, choreographer and ballet company director (b at Bridgetown, Barbados 25 Jan 1960). John Alleyne was raised in rural Québec from the age of 4. He began to dance when he was 8 and joined the National Ballet School in Toronto at 11. He graduated in 1978 and joined the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany, where he stayed for 6 years, to great acclaim. "One cannot imagine the company without his elastic grace and spirited dance," said the 1981-82 Stuttgarter Ballett Annual.
In Stuttgart he began to experiment with choreography, but it was not until he returned to Toronto in 1984 as a soloist with the National Ballet of Canada that he seriously began to develop his creative talents. He was appointed resident choreographer at the National Ballet of Canada in 1990, by which time his works were already in the repertoire of Ballet British Columbia, whose artistic direction he assumed from 1992 to 2009. Strongly influenced by his exposure to Europe's contemporary ballet choreographers, Alleyne approached the classical ballet vocabulary with audacity and iconoclasm. In the belief that modern ballet can attract an audience of wit and intelligence, he placed ballets by many of Europe and Canada's most challenging and imaginative choreographers alongside his own works in the Ballet British Columbia repertoire.
In 1992 he was the only Canadian commissioned to create a work for the New York City Ballet's Diamond Project, and he was invited to take part in the second NYCB Diamond Project in 1994. He won the 1992 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Choreography and has choreographed for Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Ballet Met, the Wiesbaden Opera Ballet, Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. His works have frequently stretched and distorted the classical form, though in recent years his high-speed and hard-edged choreographic style has noticeably softened.