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Dame Darcey Bussell's Biography

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Darcey Bussell was born on 27 April 1969 in London to a model, Andrea Pemberton, who had studied at the Royal Ballet School, and an Australian designer John Crittle, who made clothes for Jimi Hendrix.

Crittle left the family when Darcey was six and Andrea remarried an Australian dentist, Philip Bussell.

Darcey and her biological father had hardly any contact thereafter. He died in 2000.

When she was 13, Darcey Bussell joined the well-known ballet school White Lodge. She was then accepted at the Royal Ballet's Upper School.

Darcey Bussell's major breakthrough came when she was cast by the choreographer Sir Kenneth Macmillan in the lead role of his ballet Concerto for the 1986 school performance.

Sir Kenneth Macmillan continued to promote Bussell. At the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet he cast her in the leading role of Princess Rose in The Prince of the Pagodas.

Bussell moved from soloist to first soloist and then became the Royal Ballet's youngest principal at just 20.

She danced her first classic, Swan Lake, in 1990 at the age of 20.

Her classical repertory went on to include numerous principal roles including in Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.

Darcey Bussell retired as a professional ballerina in 2007. She was tall for a ballerina at 5ft 7in.

Bussell was made a CBE in 2006.

As well as writing children's stories, Darcey Bussell has also written her autobiography A Life In Dance.

Together with Katherine Jenkins, Darcey Bussell has had a musical show, Viva La Diva.

Her husband is Australian financier Angus Forbes. They have two daughters.

On 9 July 2009, the BBC announced that Darcey Bussell will appear as guest judge towards the end of Strictly Come Dancing's run and that she will appear on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two.

On 25 April 2012, the BBC announced that Darcey Bussell was joining the judges panel of Strictly Come Dancing alongside Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood, and Bruno Tonioli.

Her other TV credits include presenting Darcey's Ballet Heroes on BBC Two and Darcey Bussell: Looking for Margot on BBC One.

In July 2017, the BBC revealed that Darcey Bussell earned over £150,000 from licence fee revenue in their financial year 2016/7.

In the 2018 New Year's Honours, Darcey Bussell was made a Dame.

In April 2019 it was announced that Dame Darcey Bussell was stepping down as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing.

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