When he’s not helping to save lives in Westmead Hospital’s emergency department, 23-year-old registered nurse Bilal Rifai is practicing his hip-hop moves.
It’s his love of dance that took him to the world of reality television recently, one of four members of a dance troupe called ‘The Medical Team’.
Bilal joined three other medicos, Bella, Victor and Caitlin, to take on teams from eleven other vocations, ranging from airlines, marketing, printing and zoo keeping.
Dance Boss ran over eight episodes on the Seven Network during 2018, with teams competing for points each night in front of host Dannii Minogue and judges Sharni Vinson, Timomatic and Adam Garcia.
In late August the final episode aired with a dance-off for the grand final.
“It’s probably the best thing I ever did in my life, really,” Bilal told The Pulse.
“Awesome to actually get to do that hobby you sort of put in the background, full time, for a few weeks,” he said.
The Medical Team wowed the judges right up until the closing stages, with Adam Garcia commenting on their finals performance: “It made me feel so good.”
Making the cut and advancing into the grand final against two other teams, The Youth Workers and The Construction Guys, The Medical Team was in with a real chance of securing the inaugural Dance Boss title and a winner’s cheque for $100,000.
“It was really cool to come back and everyone was like, oh, I really don’t watch TV, but I was tracking your progress on Dance Boss,” Bilal said.
Their final dance was a futuristic performance, complete with white robot-like costumes with dark trim, and precise, well-practiced moves.
The medical troupe sent the judges into orbit.
“The bar is set and it’s high, and you guys met it and took it to a whole ‘nother stratosphere,” judge Timomatic said on the night.
Sharni Vinson told the team: “You guys are winners, you’ve come out and just smashed it.”
Adam Garcia adding: “I think this is the tightest I’ve seen you dance, in terms of the level of choreography you had to perform and the technique you had to perform it with.
“You make me feel emotional when you dance.”
The medicos finished second behind The Youth Workers who became the 2018 Dance Boss champions, with a perfect 90 points.
Ironically, it was Bilal’s favourite dance style, hip-hop, which propelled The Youth Workers into first place, with their take on Boom! Shake The room by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
The Medical Team scored 87 as they danced to Titanium by David Guetta featuring Sia.
The Construction Guys came in third on 86 with their fluoro-tinged aerobic-style number to the 80s hit, The Final Countdown by Europe.
Bilal is now back at work in the Westmead ED pursuing his other passion, nursing.
“You do miss helping people,” he said.
“While you are on the show you’re sort of putting yourself first and it’s not something that I’m used to, especially with the job, but I did miss it, I did miss nursing,” he said.