Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the ballerina Darcey Bussell OBE. At the age of twenty, she became the Royal Ballet's youngest Principal and went on to dance on the international stage in Paris, New York, St Petersburg and Milan. She was spotted by the great choreographer Sir Kenneth Macmillan at the age of 16, and though tall for a ballerina, she had an energy that he found refreshing. In 1989 she made her debut in Covent Garden as Princess Rose in The Prince of the Pagodas, a role created for her. Her classical repertory has included principal roles in Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.
Her first child was born prematurely as a result of the life-threatening condition pre-eclampsia. Her speedy recovery she put down to her strength and fitness, and she returned to dance three months later. She has announced her decision to retire as a Principal of the Royal Ballet next month, though she will continue to dance as a guest artist.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
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