Benji Schwimmer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Benji Schwimmer
Benji Schwimmer cropped.jpg
Benji Schwimmer for the 2013 KARtv Dance Awards - I'm A Dancer Against Cancer
Born Benjamin Daniel Schwimmer
(1984-01-18) January 18, 1984 (age 34)
Newport Beach, California, U.S.
Occupation Dancer, choreographer, actor
Years active 2006–present
Television So You Think You Can Dance
Parent(s) Buddy Schwimmer (father)
Relatives Lacey Schwimmer (sister)
Heidi Groskreutz (cousin)

Benjamin Daniel Schwimmer (born January 18, 1984)[1] is an American professional dancer, choreographer and actor. He was the winner of the second season of So You Think You Can Dance (2006) and has choreographed for both the U.S. and the international versions of the show. He co-starred in the 2010 film Leading Ladies.

Early life[edit]

Schwimmer was born on January 18, 1984 in Newport Beach, California, and grew up in a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) household in Moreno Valley, California. He is the son of choreographer and West Coast Swing dancer Buddy Schwimmer.[2] His mother, Laurie Schwimmer, and sister, Lacey Schwimmer, are also west-coast swing dancers.[citation needed]

He started competing when he was five years old. Some of his early experiences included singing and dancing in "Sunshine Magic", a children's troupe.[citation needed] He attended high school in both Moreno Valley (Valley View) and Redlands but then transferred to independent study[clarification needed] because of his pursuit of dance. He finished his studies early,[clarification needed] and then taught dance for one semester at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa.[3]

Schwimmer and his cousin, Heidi Groskreutz, (the fourth finalist on the same season of So You Think You Can Dance), are also U.S. Open Showcase Swing champions in west coast swing category.[4] Schwimmer put dancing on hold to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.[citation needed] He returned afterwards to the dance circuit. He founded D.E.M.A.N.D., a non-profit organization that helps the less fortunate and provides health care for dancers with HIV/AIDS and other illness, and is a co-owner of 5678 Dance Studio in Redlands.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

After returning to the United States from Mexico, he returned to dancing. He decided that he would audition for the 2006 season of the show, eventually placing among top 10 finalists. Schwimmer and his first dance partner, Donyelle Jones, successfully competed through the entire first part of the season without ever being in the bottom three. Both made it to the top four. Schwimmer was named the winner on August 16, 2006.[citation needed]

In 2006, Schwimmer danced on Fox's New Year's Eve show and talked about their instructional dance DVD.[citation needed] The next year, he played the role of the "Candyman" in Christina Aguilera's music video of the same name.[citation needed]

When SYTYCD season three auditions began, Schwimmer partnered with his sister Lacey during her audition in Los Angeles. He also danced on the first results show; at the end, he dropped his pants to reveal American-flag briefs.[citation needed] Benji was also tapped to be a correspondent reporter for the show Reality Remix on the FOX Reality Network.[citation needed]

In 2008, Schwimmer reclaimed his titles as both US and World Swing Champion with a new partner, Kellese Key,[5] after being semi-retired[clarification needed] from competitive dancing.[citation needed] He was invited as a guest performer and choreographer for "Evolutions of Dance 2009" in Provo, Utah.[citation needed] Schwimmer also appeared in the independent film, Love N' Dancing, starring Amy Smart.[6] He was the cover story in a 10-page spread in "Dancer Magazine", January 9 issue, which featured his own photography[7] Schwimmer also costarred in the comedy "Leading Ladies".[8]

Paula Abdul hired Schwimmer as her creative director and choreographer for her final performance on American Idol and for her opening show for VH1's Divas:Live '09. He also danced alongside her in both performances.

Working with his father, he choreographed [9] the short program of American figure skater Jeremy Abbott, which was first performed at the 2011 Cup of China.

Personal life[edit]

Schwimmer is openly gay. He came out publicly in 2012, after struggling with his same sex attraction for a number of years. The catalyst for his decision was the death by suicide of three gay friends.[10][11][12]

Awards[edit]

  • 1991 US Open, Young America Div. (ages 6–11), 1st Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz
  • 1992 "Future Stars" Champion, Sabado Gigante (TV), partner Heidi Groskreutz
  • 1993 "Future Stars" Champion, Sabado Gigante (TV), partner Heidi Groskreutz
  • 1994 World Swing Dance Championships Youth Division, 1st Place partner Heidi Groskreutz
  • 1995 World Swing Dance Championships Youth Division, 1st Place partner Heidi Groskreutz
  • 1995 US Open Swing Dance Championships, Adult Team Division, 1st Place Jump Start
  • 1995 Feather Award "Outstanding Dancer(youth)"
  • 1995 World Swing Dance Championships, Adult Team Division, 1st place, Jump Start
  • 1996 World Swing Dance Championships, Youth Division, 1st Place partner Heidi Groskreutz
  • 1996 World Swing Dance Championships, Adult Team Division, 1st Place, Jump Start
  • 1997 Skippy Blair "Footsteps Award"
  • 1998 Sabado Gigante's "Best Dance Couple" (multiple winner), partner Heidi Groskreutz
  • 1999 World Swing Dance Championships, Youth Division, 1st Place partner Heidi Groskreutz
  • 1999 World Swing Dance Championships, Team Division, 1st Place, Jump Start
  • 2001 World Swing Dance Championships, Youth Division, 1st Place partner Heidi Groskreutz
  • 2001 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz [13]
  • 2002 USA Swing Net "Person of the Year"
  • 2002 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz[14][15][16]
  • 2005 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz [17]
  • 2005 US Open Swing Dance Championships, Team Division, 1st Place Jump Start 2
  • 2006 SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, 1st Place, "America's Favorite Dancer", after a tally of 16 million votes for the Finale
  • 2007 Desert City Swing Stricty Swing,1st Place,Partner Patty Vo
  • 2007 - 1st Place: World Swing Dance Championships, Classic Division; Partner: Lacey Schwimmer
  • 2008 LAPD Jack and Jill (improv) Championships, 1st Place, partner Deborah Szekely
  • 2008 USA Grand Nationals Showcase Division,1st Place, partner Kellese Key
  • 2008 USA Grand Nationals Cabaret Division,1st Place
  • 2008 Desert City Swing Social Dancing Competition,4th Place,Partner Melina Ramirez
  • 2008 Dallas D.A.N.C.E. Cabaret Division, 1st Place
  • 2008 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Kellese Key
  • 2009 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Kellese Key[18]
  • 2010 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Torri Smith
  • 2011 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Torri Smith[19]
  • 2012 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Torri Smith
  • 2013 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Torri Smith[20]
  • 2014 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Torri Smith[21]
  • 2015 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Nicole Clonch[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schwimmer's profile at Fox website Archived July 5, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Video Archived September 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. of July 2006 Access Hollywood segment
  3. ^ "Redlands dancer swings and becomes a star - San Bernardino County Sun". Sbsun.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  4. ^ See the Showcase section: https://web.archive.org/web/20141021225451/http://usopenswing.com/2005_division_winners.html
  5. ^ 2008 US Open Showcase Winners: https://usopenswing.com/2008_division_winners.html Archived September 7, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Love 'N Dancing Full Cast & Crew". imdb.com. Retrieved 2015-02-11. 
  7. ^ "Benji Meets World", Dancer Magazine Issue January 2009 Archived March 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Leading Ladies :: Official Movie Site". Leadingladiesmovie.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  9. ^ "icenetwork.com: News". Web.icenetwork.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  10. ^ Shana Naomi Krochmal (2012-06-18). "Benji Schwimmer's Naked Truth". Out Magazine. Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  11. ^ Lyndsey Parker (2012-06-04). "'SYTYCD' Champ Benji Schwimmer Comes Out as Gay in Fascinating Interview". Reality Rocks (New) - Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  12. ^ "Mormon Dance Champion Benji Schwimmer". Mormon Stories Podcast. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  13. ^ "2001 U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships". Streetswing.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  14. ^ "US Open awards". Usopenswingdc.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  15. ^ "2002 list of US Open Swing Dance winners". Usopenswingdc.com. Archived from the original on 2012-08-24. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  16. ^ "2002 U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships". Streetswing.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  17. ^ "US Open Swing Dance, 2005 division winners". Usopenswingdc.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  18. ^ "US Open Swing Dance, 2009 division winners". Usopenswingdc.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  19. ^ "2011 U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships Winners". Usopenswingdc.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  20. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20141127192413/http://usopenswing.com/2013_division_winners.html. Archived from the original on 2014-11-27.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20141203073906/http://usopenswing.com/2014_division_winners.html. Archived from the original on 2014-12-03.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ http://usopenswing.com/2015_division_winners.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Nick Lazzarini
Winner of So You Think You Can Dance
2006
Succeeded by
Sabra Johnson