Alan was born 1937. After training that included a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School, twelve months with the Covent Garden Opera Ballet and touring internationally as soloist with Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, Alder returned to Australia in 1963 and rose to principal artist and then guest artist with the Australian Ballet.
He married fellow artist Lucette Aldous in 1972. Currently he teaches in Perth, Australia.
In an interview with the ABC, Alan speaks of his early dance training and aspirations. He describes going to London to study at the Royal Ballet School, his experiences in London especially with the Covent Garden Opera Ballet, coming to Australia on tour with the Royal Ballet and some of his roles in England especially Alain in La Fille mal gardee; working with Ashton, MacMillan and Cranko, Pineapple Poll and then his return to Australia to join the Australian Ballet. He discusses his first impressions of the Australian Ballet and its repertoire, returning to England for the Commonwealth Arts Festival, his thoughts on the administration of the Australian Ballet during his career with the company, working with John Butler on Threshold, his impressions of Nureyev, touring to America, filming Nureyev's production of Don Quixote and playing the role of Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty, Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, Fool on the Hill, Billy the Kid and Spartacus. He speaks about his injury, working with Massine, studying in Leningrad, working in the Kirov system and leaving the Australian Ballet. He describes the beginnings of the Western Australian Academy for the Performing Arts (WAAPA), applying for the position of Head of the School of Dance, recalls the early days of the WAAPA, some of the problems of tertiary dance training, how he was not reappointed to his position of Head of the School of Dance and his aspirations for the future.