Ballet faces ‘really, really slow recovery’ post-pandemic, says Darcey Bussell

The former dancer has organised a gala at the Royal Albert Hall.
Darcey Bussell (Ian West/PA)

Darcey Bussell (Ian West/PA)

By Tom Horton, PA

Dame Darcey Bussell has said ballet faces a “really, really slow recovery” as the UK emerges from the pandemic.

The former ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge said she knows dancers who have cut their careers short because of the challenges they have faced as a result of coronavirus.

Dame Darcey has organised a gala at the Royal Albert Hall showcasing eight British ballet companies, which will take pace in June.

Dame Darcey Bussell (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Dame Darcey Bussell (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Discussing ballet’s future, Dame Darcey told the PA news agency: “It’s going to be a really, really slow recovery and it’s not going to bounce back at all.”

She said not being able to stage productions has had far-reaching effects.

“We are not just talking about the survival of the dancers and the companies,” Dame Darcey said.

“It’s everything that’s connected with them, from the lighting designers to the technical teams to the costume designers to the stage designers to the musicians, the composers, the choreographers.

“It’s an endless list of people that are connected with this one industry, so this is going to have a massive ricochet effect because it costs money to get a production on.

“So if we don’t fill the theatres, they can’t produce the goods. We need the audience to survive.”

(Ian West/PA)

(Ian West/PA)

Dame Darcey said she knows “first hand of dancers that have cut their careers short because it’s been too difficult for them”.

The Royal Albert Hall gala will feature Ballet Black, Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, New Adventures, Northern Ballet, Rambert, Scottish Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

The gala will be hosted by Dame Darcey and television presenter and Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba.

The performance will take place on June 3 in front of an audience of 1,000 people, with tickets priced from £240 to £250.

It will then be streamed on June 18 at 7pm, with tickets costing £20.

Proceeds will be shared between the participating companies, who will each nominate a community dance company to also receive a portion of the funds, and a number of charities.

Tickets for the live show can be bought at

The live stream can be accessed via

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