Meeting Darcey Bussell
I have had a fantastic weekend, not only does it feel like summer has finally arrived and Andy Murray won Wimbledon hurray! but also I went to see someone who was my first ever idol – Darcey Bussell, the famous ballerina.
She was giving a talk at the Ways With Words Festival in Dartington, Sarah Crompton the Daily Telegraph’s dance journalist, interviewed her. I’m so glad I went, it was amazing to hear her talk about her life and career and listen to all the little details she recalled as if she retired from ballet only yesterday instead of six years ago.
Darcey answered questions like “how did you first get into ballet?” “what made you fall in love with dance?” and even “any tips for easing pointe shoe pain?” the last one was a question I asked, of course! She also talked through some photographs which are her favourites from her new book “Darcey Bussell”.
I’ve included an image which is the book cover, it’s my favourite out of her selection because it’s such a striking shot. It’s from the ballet Swan Lake, traditionally the main roles Odette and Odile were danced by two different dancers but more recently it’s changed so both parts are danced by just one principle artist.
It makes it extremely demanding, both physically and mentally, on any dancer because not only do you have twice as much work to do but you also have to express the contrasting characters of both Odette and Odile – basically one is good and the other is bad, a white and black swan.
I like the photo of Darcey because her top half is lit from above with lights, giving an innocent appearance, and from her legs down it’s just shadows, interpreted as the darker presence.
I bought the book and got it signed as Darcey stayed on for a book signing after the talk. I also got my photo taken with her, how lucky am I! I might never have the chance to see her again, it was a very inspirational and memorable evening, one which I will treasure for many years to come.