HOME CITY MELBOURNE
OCCUPATION CHOREOGRAPHER/ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
DANCE STYLE HIP-HOP
Our Top 20 dancers all have an incredible story to tell, and the Melbourne-based choreographer/ performer JD is no exception. Named after the taxi driver who dropped him off at an orphanage in Manilla after his parents abandoned him, JD has had to overcome many obstacles to achieve what he has. And that’s a lot.
At the age of 26, JD has built from scratch the dance faculty at the Melbourne Music Academy, the premiere urban dance school in Melbourne. He’s toured with Usher, Destiny’s Child, Ja Rule and Ashanti, Koffee Brown, Guy Sebastian, Holly Valance, Tina Arena, Jade Macrae and JWess.
He’s choreographed for heavyweights Israel, Christian Alexander and Jade Macrae. He’s taught and performed all around Australia, as well as in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Vegas, Los Angeles and Taiwan. Oh, and he’s also the founder of the Dance2XS Australian Branch in Melbourne and the Artistic Director of Kulture Break.
And it all started with Michael Jackson… As a kid, JD would imitate ‘Beat It’, ‘Bad’ and ‘Thriller’ in his living room and perform the routines for his family (who adopted him when he was five). First dance appearance? A presentation night in year six, which culminated with him moon walking off the stage! He studied Jazz and Ballet at Sefra Burstin School of Dance in Ormond, and began competing. He studied Hip Hop at Dance World, and from there taught and studied all styles of Hip Hop at United Styles, an urban dance school in Melbourne. He travelled interstate, taking different classes at different schools, and then went to LA to study dance and culture.
The focussed and committed JD auditioned at SYTYCD to challenge his idea that he was primarily a choreographer, not a dancer. Luckily for the viewing public, this introspective, intelligent young man discovered he was definitely still a performer! For JD, this competition is about finding out who he really is, and using dance to inspire and empower Australia. Throughout this competition, JD’s aim is use his old and new skool flavours to destroy the myth of Hip Hop culture being an aggressive and sexual dance.
Key quote: “I move in a way no one has ever seen in Australia – it’s the way I listen to and interpret music that will set
me aside from other dancers.”