She may be 18 months away from her 50th birthday, but Darcey Bussell has a physique the envy of women half her age. The Strictly Come Dancing judge, who retired from professional dance in 2012, has since had a hip replacement, but that doesn't stop her from high kicking and energetically dancing through three routines when we join her for an intimate dance class to celebrate the launch of her new DVD, Darcey Bussell's Diverse Dance Mix.
"If anything it's made it easier, I'm bionic now. In airport security I do go off," she joked in reference to her new hip after the class. Neither the hip replacement, nor her retirement has prevented Darcey from dancing; the ballerina has since tried out an array of different classes to stay active, before launching her own programme in 2014.
Darcey Bussell stays in shape with her Diverse Dance Mix programme
"I just realised very quickly that I couldn't do nothing, so the idea was to keep my body moving and to keep it supple and have some sort of strength. I realised that the strain I put my body under from doing extreme ballet training for 25 years, I need to keep my joints moving and keep them strong," Darcey explained. "I started off doing Zumba and had such a laugh doing that, I thought there must be something more diverse so that's why I created my Diverse Dance Mix."
As for her diet? Darcey shuns fad dieting in favour of healthy, balanced meals, although she does make some tweaks to ensure she's looking her best while working as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing. "When I do Strictly and I know how many pounds it looks like on television, apparently the camera adds something like eight pounds, I try and keep to more protein than carbs, but generally just a good mix and balance of food. I'm not somebody who does a diet ever, I just stay off bread or pasta a bit."
Darcey cuts down on carbs while filming Strictly Come Dancing
The 48-year-old spoke openly about wanting to be a positive role models for her daughters – Phoebe, 16, and Zoe, 13 – and revealed they provided an additional incentive to launch her own exercise programme, which has now been rolled out in schools across the UK. "It also really came down to looking at my daughters and realising what they were doing at school were all competitive sports and I wanted them to have something where they can just participate without worrying if they're any good at it, just having fun with it," Darcey said.
And we can vouch for the fun routines; bringing together everything from Flamenco and Irish dancing to Strictly favourites such as the salsa, samba and jive, it's bound to prove popular with adults and children alike – the perfect way to get fit in 2018.
Darcey Bussell's Diverse Dance Mix DVD is out now.