COVER Darcey Bus­sell

Strictly judge Dame Darcey Bus­sell on the magic of dance, get­ting the most out of the con­tes­tants and the pos­i­tives of get­ting older

YOURS (UK) - - Contents - By Ali­son James

For­mer prima bal­le­rina, the re­cently eno­bled Dame Darcey Bus­sell, is such a fra­grant fix­ture on Strictly Come Danc­ing, it’s dif­fi­cult to re­mem­ber a time when she wasn’t grac­ing the judg­ing panel. She lends a cer­tain class to pro­ceed­ings, sand­wiched be­tween Craig ‘Mr Nasty’ Revel Hor­wood, Her Blunt­less Shirley Bal­las, and the flam­boy­ant yet some­times poi­soned-tongued Bruno To­nioli. Darcey, how­ever, is un­fail­ingly pos­i­tive to­ward the celebrity con­tes­tants. So, is she primed by pro­duc­ers to take on this ‘nice’ judge role? It would seem not...

“I just do what I feel,” she has said. “For me, it’s about hav­ing em­pa­thy and un­der­stand­ing; it doesn’t mat­ter about skill. I re­spect peo­ple putting the ef­fort in and I want to get the best out of them. I be­lieve you get that if you’re fair and sup­port­ive. It’s eas­ier to be neg­a­tive than pos­i­tive. I don’t want to dis­hearten some­body so that they have no hope, so why make it ter­ri­fy­ing for them?

“I have to say – hav­ing been coached all my life and get­ting lots

of crit­i­cism – these were the kind of com­ments that made me want to come back bet­ter. I feel I should give them that mo­ti­va­tion and I en­joy do­ing all I can to boost that per­son.”

Darcey has ad­mit­ted in the past how she would love to be al­lowed to train the celebri­ties on Strictly. “It would be more nat­u­ral if I was in the stu­dio with them. I find it hard be­hind the desk; I’m a mover.”

Darcey may have been a Strictly judge for seven years but some­times, her fel­low judges can sur­prise her with their com­ments.

“Es­pe­cially Craig,” she says. ‘Weirdly, I still don’t al­ways know how he’s go­ing to score. He might give a dance a three when he’s given the im­pres­sion he quite likes it. We might all dis­agree with how each other scores a per­for­mance but we all re­ally get on. Shirley has a great sense of hu­mour and is hys­ter­i­cal. I also to­tally re­spect her amaz­ing amount of knowl­edge. Craig and Bruno are such gentle­men.

‘I re­spect peo­ple putting the ef­fort in and I want to get the best out of that per­son. I be­lieve you get that if you’re fair and sup­port­ive’

When the show is over, we never stop talk­ing about the show and dis­cussing per­for­mances with each other.

The dresses Darcey wears on Strictly are al­ways fab-u-lous. The two dresses she wears at week­ends are rented from de­sign­ers. “I have fit­tings dur­ing the week. I like dresses I don’t have to do any­thing in but I ab­so­lutely love a wardrobe and, to me, Strictly feels like putting on a cos­tume and giv­ing a per­for­mance.

“All the celebri­ties get the dance bug. You can see the joy in their faces. That’s what dance does for you. Be­ing part of Strictly is like be­ing part of an­other dance com­pany. I feel that ev­ery­thing I missed about be­ing in The Royal Bal­let I get an el­e­ment of with the show. Ev­ery­body is work­ing for the same goal, which is lovely. ”

As the show nears the halfway mark, the com­pe­ti­tion is hot­ting up but there are no clear favourites to lift the tro­phy. “There’s so much tal­ent out there,” Darcey said re­cently. “So much po­ten­tial, strength and skill – and such a buzz in the air among the cou­ples. It’s im­pos­si­ble to call – but I’m hop­ing it will be a girl that wins this year.”

Next year Darcey, who is mar­ried to busi­ness­man An­gus Forbes and has two daugh­ters, Phoebe (17) and Zoe (14), turns 50. She looks a good ten years younger and we think she can’t be feel­ing too con­cerned about en­ter­ing her sixth decade.

She says: “I think when you’re older you’re more con­fi­dent but you have to have an at­ti­tude. Work out how to stay healthy, vi­brant and en­er­gised. I’m not some­body who does a diet, but I know the cam­era adds about eight pounds so when I’m do­ing Strictly I try to keep to more pro­tein than carbs and stay off bread or pasta a bit. I go to Zumba classes to pick my­self up, have fun and laugh. If you love mu­sic, then you love to move, and move­ment is so es­sen­tial to our bod­ies and how we feel. We need that get-up-and-go feel­ing and if you don’t move your body you’ll get slug­gish. When it comes to age­ing, though, I in­tend to grow old grace­fully.”

Dame Darcey, you couldn’t pos­si­bly do it any other way.

■ strictly Come danc­ing is on satur­day and sun­day nights, bbC1 and strictly: It takes two is on week­days, 6.30pm, bbC2

Hubby an­gus with their daugh­ters Phoebe and Zoe and be­low, darcey in a royal bal­let pro­duc­tion of swan lake in1992

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.