Unfortunately due to an illness before season six really started, Billy Bell was forced to withdraw from the competition, not knowing whether or not he would be able to return to the competition at a later point. Though his feat on the show was limited to a few clips during Vegas and a performance during the Top 20 Intro episode, Bell nonetheless made an impression on America, still lingering in our thoughts about the continuation of his journey on So You Think You Can Dance.
What may be most interesting yet ironic in Bell’s case is that his placement on the sixth season may perhaps been to coincide and compete with fellow contestant Jakob Karr, both being similar dancers with similar physiques. Many may argue that Bell’s absence from the sixth season really opened the roadway for Karr’s success on his season, but although Karr was the clear leader in his field, the season was no doubt catered to its krumping winner Russell Ferguson. By this fact one may assume that season seven’s crowned winner will be someone of the technical sort. In this perspective it seems that things have been set up for Billy Bell this season, but will he rise up to the challenge?
Since his departure off season six, Billy Bell has been working with DeMa Dance Company as a principal dancer in Brooklyn, N.Y. DeMa Dance Company fuses the styles of ballet, jazz, and modern in order to address universal themes of humanity. Also honing his skills in choreography, Bell has also been setting pieces at his former high school, Dreyfoos School of the Arts.
Most importantly, Bell has recently kept himself busy with the Lunge Dance Collective.
Lunge is a new dance ensemble created and founded by Bell. Using his connections with some of the world’s best dancers and award winning choreographers, Bell plans on creating not only a dance performance but a dance experience. His goal is to produce a performance that is part traditional proscenium theater and part dance installation. This project is all independently funded, so he is still asking for donations to reach a goal of $5000. To donate please visit this website.
On top of his new dance project, Billy Bell has also kept himself busy with the acclaimed dance convention JUMP by Break The Floor Productions. With JUMP, Bell travels almost every weekend to cities across the nation, assisting some of the best choreographers in the dance industry. Other past contestants touring with this JUMP this season include season five top finalists Jeanine Mason and Brandon Bryant, along with faculty member Nick Lazzarini, season one champion.
When asked what he would do differently this season, Bell jokingly states, “[I will] not get sick! But seriously, I just go into this whole thing having a good time and hoping for the best. Whatever is meant to happen will happen, so I don’t think I’ll change my approach towards the show. Once you start taking things too seriously you forget that you’re doing what you love.” This quote however was taken before the new formats of the new season were announced by exceutive producer Nigel Lythgoe. One can only wonder if the ten elusive spots will have any effect on a dancer’s strategy throughout Vegas week.
The infamous Vegas week starts in a few days, once again bringing in the best of dancers who came out to audition during the nationwide tour. Momentarily after the Top 20 week of season six, Bell was granted a pass to start from the beginning of Vegas week this season by FOX. Brandon Dumlao, Bell’s replacement, was also granted permission to reaudition from the beginning for this upcoming season.
“I hope this season is as amazing as the last one,” Bell states. “Maybe without the bloody noses. (laughs) I hope that I meet as many awesome people as I met in season six. I’m just really excited to get started and go through the whole amazing process again!”
It’s no question whether or not Billy is in shape for his return to the competition. He’s been more active than ever in the dance world and one can only hope he will continue making his mark on season seven.
Rewind: Part I – Alex Wong
Coming up: Part III – Brandon Dumlao