Strictly Come Darcey
Whatever it was that the Strictly Come Dancing team wanted to ask Darcey Bussell, she had already made up her mind that the answer would be "no".
"I was all ready to explain that I haven't danced since I retired and didn't intend to do any more, when they asked if I would be interested in being a judge. I was taken aback, it wasn't what I was expecting, but it will be an amazing experience."
Darcey, the Royal Ballet's youngest ever principal ballerina, officially retired from dancing in June 2007. Since then she has largely concentrated on raising her family in Sydney, but she will return to London at the beginning of December, in time to join Strictly Come Dancing at the semi-final stage. "Being a big fan of Strictly I just felt that it was a great opportunity to be involved with a very exciting and positive show."
Joining regular judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Alesha Dixon and Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey will have a critical say in the outcome of one of the closest contests in the show's history. "I hope they're nice to me," she laughs. "I suppose I'm probably most like Len, I want to give constructive criticism and help them along, but I'm quite prepared to say if they haven't improved. Having been a dancer all my life, I know what it's like to perform and what you need to be able to perform."
She adds that the celebrity and professional dancers also need a certain indefinable something as a couple. "They can't be just individuals, there must be some chemistry."
Is there any chance that audiences might one day see Darcey Bussell dance again? "Everybody makes a comeback," she laughs, "but you can't in classical ballet. It's either full-time or not at all... I miss ballet, but I feel comfortable with my decision."
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