Darcey Bussell: ‘I hope the judges are nice to me’

Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell talks about joining the hit show

Why did you want to be part of the judging panel?

“I miss being a dancer, which has been a big part of who I am. But when you lose that identity it’s a case of trying to find another one.”

Would you prefer being out on the floor?

“Oh yes, it looks a lot more fun. I love learning different styles of dance and would much prefer to be the dancer!”

What is your favourite style?

“I love Latin American dance. The waltz is very graceful, but maybe it’s too close to my ballet world. I love the cha cha, the samba and jive… the feel-good dances.”

Who would you like as a partner?

“I suppose Ricky Whittle would be quite fun. Natalie Lowe, his professional dance partner does a very good job.”

What existing judge do you think you are similar to?

“I suppose I’m most like Len. I want to give constructive criticism and help them, but I’m quite prepared to say if they haven’t improved. All the judges have different qualities and, having been a dancer all my life, I know what you need to be able to perform. I met the judges when I performed on the show and I’ve seen some of Craig’s choreography and really admired his work. I hope they’re nice to me!”

What do you think you will bring to the panel?

“I was very fortunate to guest with different companies around the world. For me, stepping into a company and proving myself was one of the hardest things. I loved the challenge of working with a choreographer on something that I couldn’t do straight away. It’s more interesting not to be able to achieve everything perfectly first time.”

And what are you looking for in a performance?

“I hate anything safe and comfortable with no spark to it. I want to see them using the space and stretching themselves. There was a dance last year when Tom Chambers did a Grand jeté en tournant [a long horizontal ballet jump and turn] from the top of the steps. So clean and choreographically perfect and so exciting I could watch it a hundred times over!”