Darcey Bussell recalls feeling ‘lost' after Royal Ballet retirement

The former principal dancer was pained to leave the world she had known from childhood.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell was a “mess” when she retired from her career in the Royal Ballet.

The Strictly panellist and former principal dancer had been involved with ballet from the age of five and was “lost” after he retirement in 2007.

Bussell, who has excelled in a new career judging the efforts of celebrities and professionals on the Strictly dance floor, said she owed everything to dance and felt something was missing in her new life without it.

She presents a new documentary, Darcey Bussell: Dancing To Happiness, examining the positive impact of the discipline on mental health.

Bussell said although she did not slide into depression after her retirement she felt the pain of leaving a family.

Speaking to Radio Times magazine, she said: “I was a ball of mess, crying. [Dance] has given me everything I know about myself and my confidence, and when that was taken away from me.

“I felt kind of lost. It was only when I retired from ballet that I realised just how crucial dancing was to me.

“A year afterwards, it came as this massive wave that I was missing something about who I was as a person.”

Bussell has led calls to Parliament to ensure dance is on the school curriculum and her new documentary makes the case for its positive effects.

She said she is very conscious of her public image, being continually in the spotlight.

Bussell said: “You’re under the microscope and everybody has an opinion on how you look and how you age. I don’t listen to it but I’m very conscious of my image.”

Darcey Bussell: Dancing To Happiness is set to air on Saturday December 1st at 9pm on BBC Two.

The full interview with Bussell is available in the Radio Times magazine, out now.

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