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Darcey Bussell becomes President of the Royal Academy of Dance

Posted on May 15, 2012


darceywebDarcey Bussell has been elected president of the Royal Academy of Dance, following Dame Antoinette Sibley, who retired in April after 21 years in the role.


Bussell is the best-known British dancer of her generation. She joined The Royal Ballet in 1988, and was promoted to principal at the age of 19. Her talent was spotted and developed by the choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, who cast her as the heroine in his last evening-length ballet, The Prince of the Pagodas. During her career with The Royal Ballet, Bussell also appeared as a guest artist with international companies, including the Maryinsky Ballet and New York City Ballet. She retired from The Royal Ballet in 2007, with her final performance televised on BBC Two. Since then, she has starred in a showbiz spectacular with singer Katherine Jenkins and appeared on BBC One’s “Strictly Come Dancing”. She will return to the programme this autumn as a judge.


“Our membership voted overwhelmingly to appoint Darcey as our fourth president,” said Luke Rittner, chief executive of the RAD, “and I am personally delighted that she has accepted the position. Darcey is one of Britain’s most distinguished ballerinas, and her passion for all forms of dance make her the ideal role model to lead the Royal Academy of Dance towards its centenary in 2020. We look forward to working with her on a wide variety of national and international projects that will keep us, and our members, at the forefront of dance education and training.”

Bussell said: “It is a privilege to be asked to be president of the Royal Academy of Dance, an institution which consistently makes such an outstanding contribution to the art of classical ballet and to so many forms of dance. It is very important to me that the RAD continues to both provide the very best quality of training, but also continues to instil the enjoyment and love of dance in everyone by offering such a wide range of opportunities to get involved.


“As president of the RAD, I will aim to embody the Academy’s vision and values, which Dame Antoinette Sibley so wholeheartedly supported and which strongly reflect not only the organisation’s rich past but also its investment in the future of dance, dance education and training. I am passionate about dance and truly look forward to representing the RAD in this role.”


Picture: Darcey Bussell, courtesy of Darcey Bussell

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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