Dame Darcey Bussell DBE
Trained at the Arts Educational School and the Royal Ballet School, Bussell started her professional career at Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, but after only one year she moved to The Royal Ballet, where she became a principal dancer at just 20 years old in 1989, at that time the youngest person to be made a principal since the company received its royal charter in 1956. Bussell is widely acclaimed as one of the great British ballerinas. During her twenty years as a dancer she won renown for her unique combination of a tall and athletic physique while dancing with soft lyricism. Bussell remained with The Royal Ballet for her whole career, but also performed as a guest artist with many leading companies including NYCB, Baleto della Scala, the Kirov, Hamburg Ballet and the Australian Ballet. She retired from ballet in 2007 but remains very committed to the dance world.
Since 2012 Bussell has been the president of the Royal Academy of Dance. She is the international patron of the Sydney Dance Company, the patron of the Du Boisson Foundation and is the Campaign President of the Birmingham Royal Ballet's fund raising campaign. She is a patron of the International Dance Teachers Association, London's Children's Ballet, Cecchetti UK, Cecchetti Australia, the Dance Proms and the New English Ballet Theatre. She is an ambassador for the giving programme of the New Zealand School of Dance and is on the board of the Margot Fonteyn Foundation.
In 2012 Bussell joined the judging panel of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. She is a patron of the medical charities Sight for All, Borne and the Henry Spink Foundation. She is a gold medal recipient from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is a recipient of the Carl Alan Award for contributions to dance. In 2015 Bussell launched a dance fitness brand called DDMIX (Diverse Dance Mix), particularly aimed at getting school children to partake in dance fitness.
Dame Darcey Bussell DBE was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2018 New Year Honours.