Award for ballet dancer

A SOUTHSIDE ballet dancer has been named the UK's best male dancer just months before he retires.

Paul Liburd of Scottish Ballet, based in Pollokshields, won the accolade at the highly-regarded Critics' Circle national dance awards — for the second time.

This latest recognition comes as almost a farewell tribute to Paul (41) who will retire this year following his final performance with the national ballet company in Krzysztof Pastor's Romeo and Juliet in May.

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Yorkshireman Paul, who lives in Crosshill, told The Extra: "It was quite a shock. But it was really nice to receive it as it was probably more for my career.

"It is a great honour and I will be sad to leave Scottish Ballet. I need to start slowing down but not necessarily stop dancing. I don't have anything planned just yet".

Paul, currently performing in Ashley Page's acclaimed The Nutcracker, joined Scottish Ballet in 2004 and was previously named the awards' best male dancer in 2005.

Leeds-born Paul was also appointed MBE for services to dance in last year's Queen's birthday honours list.

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Now he intends to move to London in the summer, and says he's looking forward to having more time to devote to his other interests.

He told The Extra: "It has been a great company to work for and I'm glad I took that chance to come here and work for Scottish Ballet.

"I've met a lot of nice people and great friends so it will be sad to leave.

"But I'm looking forward to being able to spend more time on my other interests, including photography and music".

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Scottish Ballet's artistic director Ashley Page said: "We are absolutely delighted and thrilled that Paul's timeless commitment and unique stage presence have been recognised in this way.

"It has been a privilege to work with such an incredible dancer and a truly lovely man and I wish him every success with future endeavours".

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