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Will Thomas ('SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE - S9) Will Thomas ('SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE - S9)

'Wednesday Night Fever!'

And so it came to be that after thousands of auditions from some of the best dancers in the nation, the judges of 'SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE' announced the Top 20 finalists who will compete to be named America’s Favorite Male and Female Dancer.

This season’s Top 20 finalists are: Girls – Alexa Anderson, Lindsay Arnold, Witney Carson, Audrey Case, Janaya French, Eliana Girard, Amber Jackson, Janelle Issis, Amelia Lowe and Tiffany Maher; and Boys – Daniel Baker, Nick Bloxsom-Carter, Cole Horibe, Matthew Kazmierczak, Dareian Kujawa, George Lawrence II, Brandon Mitchell, Cyrus Spencer, Will Thomas and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp.

Will Thomas (19) may currently live in Studio City, CA but he grew up in Troy, MI. Indeed, Thomas was born in Rochester, Michigan and graduated from Avondale High School in 2011. He has been dancing since he was in the 6th grade and his specialty is contemporary dance.

Chatting recently with Will Thomas himself, I first wondered what he had been doing here in Troy, MI for work before he became a Top 20 finalist on SYTYCD? "I was a full-time student at Avondale High School. I was involved in their Leadership program as well as an organization called "GO", Global Outreach. Any free time after that I spent at Adagio Dance Company dancing!"

What was it that inspired you to audition for Season 9 of the show, but not for the prior seasons? "I was finally 18 years old for the auditions. 18 was the minimum age requirement. Before that, I had to just watch the show and wait until I was old enough to audition, which I did for season 9!"

What were you doing here dance-wise before Season 9 propelled you into the TV spotlight? "Throughout my school years, I was part of the competition dance team at Adagio Dance Company. Before that, I danced at Deborah's Stage Door. During the summers, and on many weekends throughout the school year, I traveled to dance conventions around the country. I spent my summers in New York City and LA taking as many master classes from as many different choreographers as possible."

And with regard that spotlight, how has it changed your approach to your performance art? "My approach hasn't changed because of the TV spotlight. Because I was tall, I wanted to focus on tall choreographers so I could learn to control my body like they did. At the same time, I focused on short choreographers to make sure I could keep up and get low so to speak, which is a challenge. I also believed and still do that you must take the same style of dance from many different choreographers to develop a depth within that style. That's another reason I begged my parents to fly me all over the country!"

As you are now in the Top 20, in truth, knowing the other 19 around you as well as you now do, what final placing would you be happy with - if you were not to win it? "I would love to be in the top 10 so that I could be on the "So You Think You Can Dance" Tour. Coming home to dance in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena, I mean, I never missed it when they came to town, and to actually be on that stage dancing in front of my friends and family! Oh Gosh, I get excited just thinking about it!!!"

There seems to be an equal number number of girls and boys this season (10/10) ... hummm, happy coincidence or did SYTYCD plan it that way?! "There has always been an equal number of guys and girls, nothing tricky there. It's the way the show is designed."

The Top 20 means that you were paired off into couples - who is yours and what instructions have been given to you re: upcoming performance? "Last week I was paired with Amelia and we were so excited to dance together. She has a quirky personality and I'm kind of out there too, so I think it's perfect. Hopefully we really complimented each other. She's a great partner. I hope we are paired up again this week. I really don't know if we're keeping these partners or changing partners. You'll have to watch to find out!"

Out of all the boys and girls in the Top 20, which one have you thus far bonded with the best - and will lasting friendships come from any of your time spent on the show? "I am closest with Janaya, Amelia, and George, who is my roommate. Yes, I believe lasting friendships will be formed, not only with just those three. We're a pretty tight family already. It's going to be tough when two guys and two girls are sent home on Wednesday."

Amelia from the show tweeted (07/07) that she was chilling out with you, eating a peanut butter sandwich, and added, "this kid is friggin hilarious" ... was she referring to you, and if so, what had you done that was just so funny?! "Yes, that was me. Amelia and I spent a lot of time together and let's just say, when we're not in a stressful rehearsal or working with an amazing choreographer, we relax and the true personalities come out. I like to surround myself with positive and uplifting people, as a result, I'm usually a pretty happy guy and when I'm happy, I guess I can get a little crazy!"

It seems you miss your dog whilst doing this show - what kind of dog is she/he and what is his/her name? "Oh, my dog! His name is "Major" and he was given to me at my graduation party last summer by the owner of Adagio, the teachers, and some of the students. I miss him so much but my brother and sister send me pictures of him."

When this show is finished, regardless of final placing, what have you always envisioned your next step to be in life? "I've been taking many acting classes in L.A. since I relocated here last September. The Director of the program I'm in has been very encouraging regarding my ability. In fact, I've already landed a few roles. I'm hoping to expand on that. It would be great to be cast in a musical type of movie."

Finally, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins, do you, perhaps? "Penguins, sure I like penguins. I'm a little confused about the little guys though, I mean they can't fly, they can barely walk, but they swim like the dickens...a bird, really?"

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

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