Kentucky-born and late to begin dancing, DJ was the fortunate recipient of a scholarship at age 18 to the renowned Harkness House for Ballet in New York City. Though the training was world-class, DJ wanted to expand upon his ability to sing and act and so turned to musical theatre, going on to university to earn a BFA in Performing Arts. DJ’s first job immediately after graduating was as a World Dancer at Epcot. After nearly two years on the stage at Epcot (with additional performances in The Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree at the Magic Kingdom), he became a company member of Orlando’s Southern Ballet Theatre (SBT and now Orlando Ballet Theatre) with the incredible ballet master Russell Sultzbach. There, in addition to dancing in the company’s concerts, he had the privilege of choreographing a jazz theatre piece for the company (“Schuur Steps”), a children’s story ballet for the apprentice company (“Wynken, Blynken and Nod”) and SBT’s lecture/demo set piece, “Smooth Criminal.” DJ thoroughly enjoyed performing the role of Drosselmayer in the company’s The Nutcracker for two seasons. Upon moving to NYC, he was cast in the international tour of My Fair Lady, and in the original production of Jekyll & Hyde (choreographed by Jerry Mitchell) in Houston. Subsequently, he originated a role in Susan Stroman’s Rhythm Ranch, and then assisted Jeff Calhoun and Tommy Tune on the workshop and Broadway production of The WIll Rogers Follies. After two more national tours (as dance captain and swing for The Will Rogers Follies and Grease) and the Madison Square Garden production of The Wizard of Oz (starring Roseanne) and its national tour (starring Mickey Rooney and Eartha Kitt), many performing roles in regional theatre, and associate choreography work, DJ shifted his career focus to writing, choreography and direction full time.
DJ has directed and choreographed shows in theaters across the USA, including Paper Mill Playhouse in NJ, Dallas Summer Musicals, TOTS-Atlanta, Kansas City Starlight, California Musical Theatre, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Musical Theatre West- Los Angeles, Pioneer Theatre- Salt Lake CIty, Intermountain Opera- Montana, and Riverside Theatre-Vero Beach. In Colombia, he choreographed a Spanish-language production of Annie and co-wrote and directed 30 Years of Christmas for MISI Producciones. Favorite directing experiences: Man of La Mancha, Into The Woods, La Cage Aux Folles, The Full Monty,Evita, Ragtime and The Will Rogers Follies (10 productions!). His production of Les Miserables for Orlando Shakespeare Theater was lauded for its staging. Select choreography: National touring events for the television shows Dancing with the Stars and Dance your A** Off, and specialty choreography for The Rachael Ray Show. NYC: Director-Choreographer for the Lincoln Center solo concert of Disney composer Alan Menken, Femme Fatale (starring Grey’s Anatomy’s Sara Ramirez), Dance Assistant on Broadway’s The Will Rogers Follies and Titanic, and director of Off Broadway’s CHIX 6. DJ has worked in various capacities with Broadway heavyweights Jerry Mitchell, Kathleen Marshall, Rob Ashford, Rupert Holmes, Lynne Taylor Corbett, Susan Stroman, Jeff Calhoun and Tommy Tune. Also a writer, he wrote book and lyrics for The Man Who Would Be King (with composer Neil Berg), Whisper Darkly (with composer Andrew Gerle) and Moonshine & Mistletoe, and he has written the opening song for three Tournament of Roses Parades.www.djsalisbury.com.