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Darcey Bussell

Presenter

Biography

Darcey Bussell in action.
Darcey Bussell in The Prince of the Pagodas, The Royal Ballet © Bill Cooper

Presenter Darcey Bussell is a former Principal of The Royal Ballet and one of the most famous British dancers of her generation. During her nearly twenty years as a Principal of the Company she won renown for her unique combination of a tall, athletic physique with soft lyricism. Her extensive broadcast work includes appearing as a judge on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and presenting The Royal Ballet’s cinema simulcasts, broadcast worldwide.

Bussell trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the Company in 1988. She was promoted to Principal in 1989 after the premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s The Prince of the Pagodas, in which Bussell created the lead role of Princess Rose. She retired from the Company in June 2007 with a performance of MacMillan’s Song of the Earth, broadcast live on BBC2. She came out of retirement to dance the Spirit of the Flame at the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony, leading a troupe of 200 dancers.

Her books include Darcey Bussell: A Life in Pictures, the ‘Magic Ballerina’ children’s series and her autobiography. Among the many charities Bussell supports, she is President of the Royal Academy of Dance and Patron of the Sydney Dance Company. She was appointed an OBE in 1995 and CBE in 2006.

Videos

News and features

Watch: How dancers learn the iconic role of The Nutcracker's Sugar Plum Fairy

8 December 2017
Watch: How dancers learn the iconic role of <em>The Nutcracker</em>'s Sugar Plum Fairy

Former Royal Ballet Principal Lesley Collier has been coaching Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae through the ballet's showcase duet.

Watch: Marianela Nuñez rehearses The Royal Ballet's Sylvia with Darcey Bussell

17 November 2017
Watch: Marianela Nuñez rehearses The Royal Ballet's <em>Sylvia</em> with Darcey Bussell

Frederick Ashton's ballet is a challenge for even the top ballerinas.

How the Lilac Fairy tells a story through mime in The Sleeping Beauty

2 March 2017
How the Lilac Fairy tells a story through mime in <em>The Sleeping Beauty</em>

Former Director of The Royal Ballet Monica Mason and First Soloist Claire Calvert explore one of classical dance's most charming roles with Darcey Bussell.

Photos

David Pickering and Darcey Bussell at Ballet Studio Live

Darcey Bussell unveils the blue plaque for Margot Fonteyn

Darcey Bussell unveils the blue plaque

Darcey Bussell in The Prince of the Pagodas, The Royal Ballet

Darcey Bussell photographed for the Royal Opera House's World Stage Campaign, 2005

Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope in Prince of the Pagodas

Darcey Bussell at Ballet Studio Live

Darcey Bussell unveils the blue plaque

Darcey Bussell and Donald MacLeary

Darcey Bussell as Manon and Zoltán Solymosi as Des Grieux in Manon

Darcey Bussell as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty

Darcey Bussell as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty

Darcey Bussell at Ballet Studio Live

Darcey Bussell as Manon and Zoltán Solymosi as Des Grieux in Manon

Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell as Princess Rose in The Prince of Pagodas, The Royal Ballet, 6 November 1996

The curtain call for Darcey Bussell's final performance as a Principal of The Royal Ballet

Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell and Royal Ballet Principals at the London 2012 closing ceremony

Tunic won by Jonathan Cope and dress worn by Darcey Bussell in The Prince in The Prince of the Pagodas 1989

Darcey Bussell at Ballet Studio Live

Darcey Bussell at Ballet Studio Live

Marianela Nuñez, Darcey Bussell and Irek Mukhamedov, Ballet Studio Live

Home of Margot Fonteyn receives a blue heritage plaque

Darcey Bussell in Pavane pour une infante défunte, The Royal Ballet

Darcey Bussell as Manon and Zoltán Solymosi as Des Grieux in Manon

Dress worn by Darcey Bussell as Princess Rose in The Prince of the Pagodas 1989

Inaki Urlezaga, Darcey Bussell and Alastair Marriott in Monotones II