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By James Moncur
The Daily Record
March 12, 2012

Reece Clarke, from Airdrie, won the prestigious prize after battling off competition from all over the UK.

And the first people to congratulate the 16-year-old were his three big brothers, who are also ballet dancers.

Reece, who is a pupil at the Royal Ballet School in London, said: “One of my brothers watched me in the competition and the other two, who are in America, have already sent ‘well done’ messages. “They’re really happy for me.”

Reece was crowned Young British Dancer of the Year after competing against 82 other dancers in front of judges Gary Avis, Zenaida Yanowsky and top ballerina Deanne Bergsma.

His flawless performance of one of the toughest male solos in The Sleeping Beauty convinced the panel that he deserved the £3000 prize.

Reece, who now lives in Twickenham, London, said: “The competition was really tough. There were some really fantastic dancers there. “We had to dance through three rounds and it was an incredibly hard and physical test. I have to thank my teachers because they helped me put together my pieces.”

The Clarke brothers made history in 2006 when Reece began his first term at the Royal Ballet School. With more than 1000 dancers going for only 25 spots each year, it was the first time four brothers from the same family have all attended the school.

Russell, 22, and Ross, 20, are now based in Phoenix, Arizona, with the Ballet Arizona company. Ryan is still at the Royal Ballet School with Reece.

Their parents Robert and Anne moved to Twickenham to be with the boys.

All four brothers were pupils at Rochsolloch Primary School and the Janis Ridley School of Dance in Coatbridge.

© 2012 Scottish Daily Record

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