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Darcey Bussell at a curtain call after a performance of Theme and Variations
Born 27 April 1969 (1969-04-27) (age 41)
London, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Ballet dancer
Spouse(s) Angus Forbes (1997-present)
Children Phoebe and Zoe
Parents John Crittle and wife Andrea (divorced)
Adopted by Philip Bussell when he married Andrea

Darcey Andrea Bussell CBE (born Marnie Mercedes Darcey Pembleton Crittle on 27 April 1969 in London) is a retired English ballerina who was previously a Principal Dancer of The Royal Ballet, a major international ballet company based in London, England. She is widely considered to be one of the greatest English ballerinas of all time and has appeared as a guest artist with leading ballet companies worldwide. She appeared as a judge on the seventh series of Strictly Come Dancing in the UK in 2009.

Bussell was born to John Crittle, an English-based Australian businessman and his English wife Andrea. After the couple divorced when Darcey was three, her mother remarried and Darcey was adopted by her mother's new husband, Australian dentist Philip Bussell. The family spent some time in Australia, where Darcey attended school before they returned to London for Darcey to be educated at the Fox Primary School.

La toute jeune Darcey Bussell dans la variation de "Gamzatti" du deuxieme acte de "La Bayadere" version Natalia Makarova avec le Royal Ballet de Londres

Darcy Bussell dances her way along the red-carpet at the Classical BRIT Awards.
Dancing career
Bussell began her professional training at the Arts Educational School, a specialist dance and musical theatre school in London. At the age of 13, she moved to continue her studies at the Royal Ballet Lower School, a leading international ballet school based at White Lodge, Richmond Park. At 16, she progressed to the Royal Ballet Upper School in Baron's Court, before graduating into the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet in 1987. Whilst studying at the Royal Ballet School, she appeared in a number of school productions, including performances at the Royal Opera House.

While she was still at school, the choreographer Kenneth MacMillan had noticed her talent, and in 1988 he gave her the leading role in his ballet The Prince of the Pagodas to Benjamin Britten's music, causing her to move to The Royal Ballet. A year later, in December 1989, on the opening night of the show, she was promoted to Principal, at the time the youngest ballerina to be given this honour.

Her many roles include Masha in Winter Dreams and Princess Rose in The Prince of the Pagodas, both choreographed by MacMillan, as well as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadère, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Manon in Manon, and Giselle in Giselle.

In 2006 she announced her retirement as a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, though stayed with the company as "guest principal artist".

She retired from ballet on 8 June 2007 with a performance of MacMillan's "Song of the Earth" (music Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde). It was performed at the Royal Opera House in London, and at the end of the piece she received a standing ovation lasting over 8 minutes. It was also broadcast live on BBC Two.

Despite retiring from the professional stage, Bussell remains deeply involved in the dance world. She continues to be a patron of the International Dance Teachers Association and has also joined the board of directors of Sydney Dance Company. She is also a recipient of the Carl Alan Award for contributions to dance.

[ Modeling
Darcey Bussell has modeled clothes for Mulberry, Bruce Oldfield and Marks & Spencer. She has also been photographed for Tatler, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was famously photographed with a diamond in her mouth in a promotion for De Beers.

Literary career
In 2008, Bussell released six books in a new children's series entitled "The Magic Ballerina". The story line involves a girl called Delphie who joins a ballet school and discovers her shoes are magical. She also co-wrote The Young Ballerina with the Royal Ballet School and wrote an introduction to the book "The Illustrated Book of Ballet" by Barbara Newman, which showcases five of the ballets in which she starred.


Darcey Bussell, Carlos Acosta and Gary Avis curtain call for "Song of the Earth", 8 June 2007

She was awarded the OBE in 1995 and the CBE in 2006. She guest starred as herself in the popular BBC1 comedy The Vicar of Dibley in 1998.

Bussell has recently teamed up with Katherine Jenkins and they plan to stage a song and dance production to pay tribute to the stars who have inspired them which include Madonna and Judy Garland. With a £1 million budget, the show was launched in Manchester in November and is entitled Viva la Diva. Bussell and Jenkins performed a segment of Viva la Diva before the Queen at the 79th Royal Variety Performance which was televised on 9 December 2007.

She joined the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing judging panel in the final stages of the 2009 series. In the semi-final of the competition she danced a jive with the professional dancer Ian Waite.

On 18 July 2009, Bussell received an honorary doctorate (DLitt) from the University of Oxford. During the ceremony the University’s Public Orator noted that she "adds to technical mastery, charm and imagination, in such a way that she seems to reveal the grace of her personality as well as the grace of movement… Moreover, she wants those who are perhaps put off by the grand portals of the Royal Opera House to enjoy the pleasures that ballet affords."
Darcey Bussell as Gamzatti in "La Bayadere" ROH Production 1991

Bussell is the "Godmother" of MS Azura, a 115,000 ton cruise liner of the P&O Cruises fleet. When the ship was officially launched in April 2010, Bussell performed the tradition ceremony of breaking a bottle of champagne to christen the ship. She also staged a dance performance with students from the Royal Ballet School.

Personal life
In 1997, Bussell married Australian Angus Forbes, a merchant banker, in Cherwell, Oxfordshire. They originally lived in Kensington with their two daughters, both of whom were born in Kensington and Chelsea, London: Phoebe Olivia (born 2001) and Zoe Sophia (born 2004). In 2008, the family relocated to Sydney, Australia

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