The retired English ballerina Darcey Andrea Bussell is most known for serving as a judge on the dance reality series “Strictly Come Dancing” on the “BBC.” One of the best British ballerinas of all time, the 48-year-old English woman began her career even before she reached adolescence. Until she turned 20 and joined the “Royal Ballet,” Darcey attended a number of ballet schools. Darcey has played more than 80 different parts over the course of her 20-year career, including “Princess Aurora” in “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Nikiya” and “Gamzatti” in “La Bayadère,” “Odette/Odile” in “Swan Lake,” “Giselle” in “Giselle,” and the “Sugar Plum Fairy” in “The Nutcracker.” After her performance in MacMillan’s “Song of the Earth” in 2007, she gave up her job. In addition to dancing well, Bussell is a model, an author, and a TV personality. She has walked the runway for Vanity Fair, Tatler, and Vogue. Also, she has posed for apparel brands like “Mulberry,” “Marks & Spencer,” and “Bruce Oldfield.” She has also published a book series called “Magic Ballerina” and collaborated with the “Royal Ballet School” on the book “The Little Dancer.”
Dame Darcey’s early years and childhood
Marnie Mercedes Darcey Pemberton Crittle, the daughter of John Crittle and Andrea Williams, was born Andrea Bussell on April 27, 1969 in London, UK.
Her mother was a housewife, and her father was an Australian businessman. Darcey’s parents separated when she was three years old, and as a result, her mother wed Australian dentist Philip Bussell.
Darcey spent the majority of her time in Australia with her family after being adopted by her stepfather. She eventually made her way back to London to enroll in “Fox Primary School.”
Earlier Years of Darcey Bussell
At London’s “Charlotte School,” a dance and musical theater, Darcey started her dancing career. She enrolled in the “Royal Ballet Lower School” in White Lodge, Richmond Park, when she was 13 years old.
One of the top worldwide dancing schools, “Royal Ballet,” is where she first made success. At the age of 16, she received a diploma from the “Royal Ballet Higher School.” She also gave a performance at “Royal Opera House.”
She was promoted to “Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet” in 1987, when she began taking part in performances and productions. During this time, the late Kenneth MacMillan became aware of her grace and talent and chose to have her perform as the lead dancer in his ballet “Concerto” in 1986. Kenneth secured her a second main role in the ballet “The Prince of the Pagodas” in 1988. She performed to a piece by Benjamin Britten.
Career of Darcey Bussell
In 1988, she transitioned to the “Royal Ballet” after performing with Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet for a time. She rose to the position of lead dancer at the “Royal Ballet” a year later. When Darcey accomplished the accomplishment, she was only 20 years old. After then, she never looked back.
She performed as the “Sugar Plum Fairy” in “The Nutcracker,” “Odette/Odile” in “Swan Lake,” and “Princess Aurora” in “The Sleeping Beauty.” She also performed in the title parts of “Raymonda Act III” and “Giselle.”
In 1991, she participated in the MacMillan ballet “Masha in Winter Dreams.” The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations at the “London Palladium” had featured the closing “pas de deux” from “Winter Dreams” a year earlier.
Darcey proceeded to take on a variety of roles in MacMillan’s ballets after his passing, including the lead roles in “Romeo & Juliet” and “L’histoire de Manon.” Her other notable appearances were in “Mayerling” as “Mitzi Casper” and “Anastasia” as “Mathilde Kschessinska.”
The “New York City Ballet,” the “Balletto Della Scala,” the “Kirov Ballet,” the “Paris Opera Ballet,” the “Hamburg Ballet,” and the “Australian Ballet” were among the other companies she performed with a guest. She played the lead in the motion pictures “Agon,” “Symphony in C,” “Apollo,” and “Prodigal Son.”
In 2004, she participated in the Léo Delibes opera “Sylvia” world premiere at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. She left her position as the “Royal Ballet’s” principal dancer in 2006, but she remained as the guest major performer.
She performed in MacMillan’s “Song of the Earth” for the final time on June 8, 2007, at the Royal Opera House in London. She then declared her retirement.
She made a comeback for the closing ceremony of the “2012 Summer Olympics,” where she was in charge of a group of 200 ballerinas. “The Spirit of the Flame” was the name of the dance.
She established the fitness company “DDMIX” (Diverse Dance Mix) in 2016 with a focus on dance genres such the tango, waltz, Irish, ballet, Bollywood, disco, salsa, and flamenco.
Significant Other Works
In the 1994 film “Yo Picasso,” she made her acting debut as “Olga Khokhlova.” She further appeared in programs like “The Vicar of Dibley” and “The One Show.”
The documentaries she presented were “Darcey’s Ballet Heroines” (2013), “Darcey Bussell: Searching for Audrey” (2014), “Darcey’s Ballet Heroes” (2015), “Darcey Bussell: Looking for Margot” (2016), and “Darcey Bussell: Looking for Fred” (2017). In 2004, she was featured in a documentary named “Britain’s Ballerina.”
She became a judge on the dancing reality series “Strictly Come Dancing” on the “BBC” in 2009. She made a comeback to the judging panel in 2012, replacing Alesha Dixon this time as a permanent judge.
She starred in the 2011 BBC television program “Darcey Bussell Dances Hollywood,” which recreated some of the most renowned dance routines from the movie industry. Kim Gavin, a choreographer, and Darcey worked together to create the performance.
Bussell is well known as a model for having a diamond in her mouth for “De Beers” publicity photos. She has posed for the jewelry brand of the “World Gold Council,” as well as for apparel lines including “Marks & Spencer” and “Mulberry.”
Moreover, she has modeled for “Vanity Fair” and “Vogue.” She appeared in a Lloyds Bank television ad.
A children’s book that Bussell imagined in 2008 was later written by ghostwriters. The six-book collection, which is now known as “Magic Ballerina,” quickly rose to popularity.
She also collaborated in the writing of “The Young Dancer” for the “Royal Ballet Academy.” In her honor, the picture book “Darcey Bussell” was published in 2012.
Recognition & Achievements
In 1990, “Dance and Dancers” magazine named her “Dancer of the Year.” She shared the “Cosmopolitan Achievement Award in the Performing Arts” in 1991.
In the “1995 New Year Honours,” Bussell was given the title of “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” (OBE). In the 2006 “Birthday Honours,” she was also named a “Commander of the Order of the British Empire” (CBE).
At the “2018 New Year Honours,” she was given the title “Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire” (DBE). The “John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts” presented her with a gold medal in appreciation.
She was awarded an honorary doctorate by the “University of Oxford” in 2009. She earned a second doctorate in 2017 from Glasgow’s “Royal Conservatoire.”
Bussell oversees the “Royal Academy of Dancing” as its president. In 2006, she requested that David Austin Roses create a red rose in her honor at the Chelsea Flower Show.
A full-length portrait of Darcey Bussell by artist Allen Jones was commissioned by “The National Portrait Gallery.” In May 1994, the portrait was unveiled.
Individual Life of Darcey Bussell
In 1997, Darcey wed Australian businessman Angus Forbes. Zoe Sophia and Phoebe Olivia are her two daughters.
With her family, Darcey currently resides in London.