You first saw 19-year-old Billy Bell’s luxurious lines on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 6. But when he came down with mononucleosis soon after landing a coveted spot in the show’s Top 20, Billy had to withdraw from the competition prematurely. Now, a healthy and busy Billy is performing with Brooklyn-based DeMa Dance Company, which premieres six new works at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in NYC this May. He also plans to return to “SYTYCD” for Season 7—and he’s already got the go-ahead from Nigel Lythgoe to head straight to Vegas Week.
Dance Spirit: How did you find out about DeMa?
Billy Bell: They actually contacted me after seeing one of my videos on YouTube. It’s my first consistent company effort and I have really been enjoying it. These are dancers I might not normally work with, so it’s nice to be out of my comfort zone.
DS: What type of dance does the company do?
BB: It’s based in contemporary ballet, but it’s fused with commercial dance. I like it because that’s a goal of mine, to be able to merge the company world and the commercial world, and it’s a nice step toward that. Right now we’re doing a piece choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, but it’s different from what she normally does—it’s prettier!
DS: What else have you been up to since we saw you on “SYTYCD”?
BB: In January I set a piece on students at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL. It’s a 20-minute series of duets and one solo. It’s a response to AMBER Alert [the child-abduction alert system], and I’m working with text—I want it to be more like dance theater. I’m also touring with JUMP as a demonstrator and a guest teacher. I get to be with Jeanine [Mason, winner of “SYTYCD” Season 5] every weekend!
Photo of Billy Bell rehearsing with DeMa Dance Company by Kim Max