Who Would Have Thought?

I still can’t quite believe this photo is real. It’s just an iphone snapshot, a bit grainy and dark, but to me it’s absolutely magical. Who would have thought I’d ever get the chance to meet Darcey Bussell? Certainly not me!

As a ballet fanatic, from a young age I’d poured over The Young Dancer, a guide to ballet Darcey Bussell had written in association with the Royal Ballet. I raced through her autobiography A Dancer’s Life as soon as it came out. I had postcards of her dancing in Swan Lake and La Bayadère stuck up on my walls, alongside Viviana Durante and Sylvie Guillem. I grew up with Darcey as my idol: an exquisite dancer who transformed the ballet world with her energy, lyricism and those incredible legs. Not only a beautiful ballerina, she impressed me with her humility, courage and unerring grace.

You can imagine, then, how excited I was (even having left my dancing days well behind me) to have the chance hear a talk Darcey Bussell gave at the V&A last night, in celebration of her most recent book. The photographic memoir is full of the most gorgeous pictures and is also a fascinating read. I was so thrilled to get my copy signed:

Most of all, however, I delighted in listening to Darcey reminisce on her days as a Prima Ballerina and laugh over her most recent escapades at the London Olympics and as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing. She is an incredibly eloquent speaker, and I am sure every member of the audience could have sat and happily listened to her all night! The intimate, low-key setting with Darcey and her husband and children mingling with the crowds made the evening a true success, and will remain an evening I for one will never, ever forget.

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