SHE is known to millions of adoring fans as one of the greatest ballerinas of all times, a woman who reached the top of her profession and has gone on to become a household name as a judge on TV’s Strictly Come Dancing.

And last night she helped inspire a future generation of dancers by sharing her advice to young admirers at The North Wall at St Edward’s School.

Dame Darcey delighted the audience of pupils from ‘Teddies’, state schools and home-schooled children when she took the stage at the north Oxford venue as part of its series of Inspiring People talks.

The dancer, who became a principal dancer at The Royal Ballet aged just 20, was quizzed by the composer George Fenton about the highlights of her career, the secrets of her success and how others might go about achieving similar levels of excellence.

She talked of overcoming dyslexia and of the exertion of training, saying: “You have to be prepared to fail and come back stronger. But dancing is a great job, despite the pain!”