Note: Aristotle Luna’s final show as Billy in Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) on Orcas Island in the state of Washington, presented by The Orcas Center, was on March 25, 2018.
Debut: March 15, 2018 (Orcas Island, Washington)
Total Performances as Billy: 8 (No partial shows)
Aristotle Luna was 14 years old (d.o.b. 28-Apr-2003) when he made his debut as Billy Elliot in the BETM production presented by The Orcas Center. Aristotle hails from Deer Harbor on Orcas Island in Washington state, an island in the Salish Sea. Aristotle is homeschooled and, at the time he portrayed Billy, was at the 9th/10th grade level. He lists as his non-performing hobbies: capoeira, junk-rigged sailing, ocean canoeing, bow building, bali-song flipping, hand-standing, knife sharpening, electric mandolin and non-violent communication — quite a varied and sometimes exotic list of interests.
According to Aristotle’s dad, Ben, there are about 4,000 year round residents on the island and “no traffic lights”, a place he describes as being “off the beaten path”. Ben added that, despite its relatively small size, “there are some wildly talented and gifted choreographers, instructors, dancers and performers on our tiny island, and it has been a real treat for Aristotle to learn from such an eclectic group”.
As a dancer, Aristotle’s skills have been honed by intensive solo and group performance training (20-30 hours per week since 2015) with the All-Star Collective. His studies there have been in a wide variety of dance genres including: tap, ballet, hip hop, jazz, salsa, ballroom, waltz, swing, modern and lyrical.
Here’s a video clip illustrating a montage of Aristotle’s dance skills:
Since 2013, Aristotle has also undertaken capoeira training at a local island club, under the direction of Dustin Fox. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music. It is known for its quick and complex maneuvers, predominantly using power, speed, and leverage across a wide variety of kicks, spins, and other techniques.
Artistotle has been a student and performer at the Island Aerial Acrobatics. Since 2014, under the direction of Maria Bullock, he has studied a variety of acrobatic skills, including silks, hoops, rope, hand-balancing and tumbling.
Since he learned that he had been cast as Billy in the late summer of 2017, Aristotle has been taking voice and singing training with Sharon Abreu.
Beginning in 2013, Aristotle has performed in many dance presentations, mostly with The All-Star Collective. He also has done acrobatic performances, particularly with silks and hoops as his main emphasis.
He has appeared in several theatrical shows, including in 2013 A Midsummers Night Dream (Oberon, The Fairy King), 2015: Grimm’s Fairy Tales (The Godmother) and in 2016: Grease (Danny Zuko).
Billy Elliot The Musical
In August of 2017, the Orcas Center director of BETM, Robert Hall, contacted Aristotle to ask if he’d be interested in the role of Billy. Hall was very familiar with Aristotle’s skills as he had previously performed many times at the Orcas Center and Hall knew that Aristotle was heavily involved in the dance community on Orcas Island. While there was an audition process mandated by the theatre group’s policy, Hall admits that it would’ve taken someone pretty special to win the role over Aristotle. Hall says of Aristotle “He’s a pretty talented dancer — one of the more talented dancers his age I’ve met.”
Once offered the role, Aristotle took about a month to discuss with his family whether to take on the huge role of Billy. The dance part didn’t bother him, especially since he is very familiar with BETM’s choreographers, having received private dance instruction from both over the past couple of years — Tiffany Loney and Anthony the Dancer. But he had never really sung or acted in a major role before.
In September 2017, when he made the decision to take on the challenge, he began intense solo dance training specific to the role of Billy and also acting instruction. In November of 2017, he added private voice coaching. With regard to the acting, director Hall calls Aristotle “a natural”.
Group dance rehearsals also began in November, followed by group rehearsals for the show for two hours every evening (7-9pm), Monday through Friday and all day on Saturdays, right up until the show opened.
Says Aristotle, “This has been an excellent experience. I’ve really enjoyed getting to work with such amazing choreographers, directors, musicians and the rocking cast. I am very grateful for this opportunity to work with so many cool and interesting people.”
With Aristotle’s debut as Billy, he becomes the 241st young actor in the world to bring the role to life on stage in a professional, regional or community theatre production of the show since 2005.
For more information about Aristotle, visit: