If we can trust Internet rumors, we'll be seeing plenty of Billy Bell on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 7 (word is, he made it to the top 24!). Dance Spirit is a big fan of this talented 20-year-old, who first appeared on “SYTYCD” Season 6, but had to withdraw when he came down with Mono. Between seasons, Billy continued his studies at Juilliard, toured with JUMP and worked with the Brooklyn-based DeMa Dance Company. Now Billy’s added yet another project to his plate: He's created his own dance company called Lunge Dance Collective. DS spoke with Billy about his latest endeavor.
Dance Spirit: What is Lunge Dance Collective?
Billy Bell: I wanted to create an outlet for young dancers who are transitioning into the NYC dance world. I noticed while I was auditioning for companies that everyone wants you to have company experience, but no one's willing to give you that first shot.
DS: You’ve had some company experience though, right?
BB: Yeah, I'm still working with DeMa and I've worked with Gallim Dance. I've had small company experience before, but that wasn’t enough. So we're trying to offer dancers a full year opportunity. I wanted to give them some strong experience in NYC before they're out auditioning.
DS: What are you looking for in a dancer?
BB: I'm looking for someone who’s really versatile and open to new things, that's willing to do anything a choreographer asks. I don't want them to have any boundaries or insecurity. I want them to be able to let loose.
DS: What sort of work will Lunge Dance Collective do?
BB: My big goal is to try to merge the company and the commercial worlds, to blur that line. I want my company to be able to do everything, from a European contemporary ballet to L.A. jazz. This show is going to be mostly contemporary work, because that's what I enjoy choreographing.
DS: Did you choreograph the entire show?
BB: I did. Two are dances I previously choreographed at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL. And I created two new pieces. For one, I took a sudoku puzzle and re-analyzed it to come up with a choreography structure. The other is more technology inspired. It's a structured improv duet developed over email. And the 8 pm gala show will have guest performances, including DeMA, Teddy Forance, Nick Lazzarini and maybe Jason Parsons.
DS: Do you have any other upcoming shows?
BB: We don't currently, because I’m not sure when or if I'll be in NYC. But I do want to do another one—I want to do a young choreographer's show.
Catch Lunge Dance Collective this Saturday, May 22 at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in NYC.
Photo of Shana Saffer, Sammie Otano, Rachel Donev, and Tara Langdon in Billy Bell's Amber at Dreyfoos School of the Arts courtesy Marlee Brannock