Alan Howard, a lead dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and a ballet teacher, died of cancer on March 6 in Chicago. He was 72.His students included Kyra Nichols, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet Chicago native trained with Edna McRae and joined the Ballet Russe in 1949. He rose to the rank of premier danseur in the company, which he left in 1960. Mr. Howard also danced with the Mia Slavenska Ballet and New York City Ballet and at Radio City Music Hall. He founded the Pacific Ballet Academy in San Francisco, which produced the Pacific Ballet, and choreographed several pieces for that company. He was a popular guest teacher at many companies and institutions. He is survived by a niece.