The Royal Ballet announces Principal Dancer Promotions
Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare announces today that William Bracewell and Reece Clarke have been promoted to Principal dancer, the highest rank in the Company, to take effect from the start of the 2022/23 Season.
Bracewell and Clarke both trained at The Royal Ballet School, having gained a love of dance from their local dance schools. Bracewell grew up in Swansea, Wales, and Clarke in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. They have both been propelled through the ranks of The Royal Ballet, performing celebrated roles from the 19th century classics and heritage ballets by Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan through to works by choreographers of today including Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon.
Kevin O’Hare comments: ‘It is a great pleasure to announce that Reece and William will join the rank of Principal dancer at The Royal Ballet. Both dancers have excelled this Season, going from strength to strength as the Company has returned to full repertory following the onset of the pandemic. Their recent involvement at our special fundraising performance of Swan Lake for Ukraine, where they were among the four male dancers partnering the Company’s most established ballerinas, is testament to the fantastic qualities they bring to the stage. Both dancers are wonderful examples of the strength of training at The Royal Ballet School and will be an inspiration to the younger generation of boys studying dance. I know audiences will share in our delight at their good news and we look forward to seeing how their careers continue to develop.’
William Bracewell trained at the Pamela Miller Ballet School in Swansea and joined The Royal Ballet School when he was 11 years old. On graduating from the School in 2010 he joined Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) where he was promoted to First Artist in 2012 and Soloist in 2014. Bracewell joined The Royal Ballet as a Soloist in 2017 and was promoted to First Soloist in 2018.
His roles with The Royal Ballet and BRB include Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Prince in The Nutcracker, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Franz in Coppélia, Oberon in The Dream and Salamander Prince in David Bintley’s The Prince of the Pagodas. Ballets also include Symphonic Variations, Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Les Rendezvous, Dances at a Gathering, Elite Syncopations, David Bintley’s Tombeaux and Hofesh Shechter’s Untouchable. He has created roles including Le roi soleil for David Bintley’s The King Dances and in Wayne McGregor’s Yugen and The Dante Project, Christopher Wheeldon’s Corybantic Games, Alexander Whitley’s Kin and Jessica Lang’s Lyric Pieces.
Bracewell’s accolades include the 2007 Young British Dancer of the Year Award, the grand prix at the 2010 Youth America Grand Prix and the award for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) at the 2015 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.
Reece Clarke and his three elder brothers trained at the Janis Ridley School of Dance in Scotland before joining The Royal Ballet School in 2006 – the first time in the School’s history that four boys from the same family had all trained at the School. He graduated into The Royal Ballet during the 2013/14 Season, and was promoted to First Artist in 2016, Soloist in 2017 and First Soloist in 2020.
Clarke’s performances with the Company include Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Prince in The Nutcracker, Prince Florimund and Florestan in The Sleeping Beauty and Onegin. Among Frederick Ashton ballets he has performed in Symphonic Variations, Monotones II and as the Young Man in The Two Pigeons and as Aminta in Sylvia. In Kenneth MacMillan repertory he has featured in Elite Syncopations, as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and as Des Grieux in Manon. He has also featured in principal roles in George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and in Dances at a Gathering by Jerome Robbins. In more recent repertory he has performed in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain, Within the Golden Hour, as Polixenes and Antigonus in The Winter’s Tale and as Dr Samuel-Jean Pozzi in Strapless. He performed in Wayne McGregor’s Carbon Life and Obsidian Tear and in the pas de deux In Our Wishes by Cathy Marston. He created roles in Liam Scarlett’s Symphonic Dances and Symphonic Dances and Charlotte Edmond’s Meta.
Clarke’s awards while at The Royal Ballet School included the Young British Dancer of the Year in 2012, the Lynn Seymour Competition in 2013 and an award from the Ballet Association. After joining the Company, he received the Emerging Artist Award at the 2016 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.