Benji Schwimmer

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Benji Schwimmer
Portrait photograph of a man wearing a blue sweater, seated sideways with respect to the viewer
Born
Benjamin Daniel Schwimmer

(1984-01-18) January 18, 1984 (age 37)
OccupationDancer, choreographer, actor
Years active2006–present
TelevisionSo You Think You Can Dance
Parent(s)Buddy Schwimmer (father)
RelativesLacey Schwimmer (sister)
Heidi Groskreutz (cousin)
WebsiteBenji Schwimmer official website

Benjimen Daniel Schwimmer (born January 18, 1984)[1] is an American professional dancer, choreographer, actor and director. 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 is the only dancer in the world to hold World titles in solo, partner and group divisions at the same time. Schwimmer works on TV, film and stage both in front and behind camera. He was the specialties choreographer for Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time In Hollywood".

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 renown partner and solo dancers.[3]

He began acting at 2, landing nationwide commercials for McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Power Wheels and guest stint on Full House.

He started competing at five years old. He finished his studies early,[clarification needed] and then taught dance at 17 years for one semester at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa.[4]

Schwimmer and his cousin, Heidi Groskreutz, (Top 4 finalist on the same season of So You Think You Can Dance), are also U.S. Open and World Showcase Swing champions.[5] Schwimmer put dancing on hold to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.[6] 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 illnesses,[7] and was a co-owner of 5678 Dance Studio in Redlands since 2011.[8]

Career[edit]

After his two year mission and stint on So You Think You Can Dance tours, Schwimmer reclaimed his titles as both US and World Swing Champion with a new partner, Kellese Key in 2008.[9] He has never lost a routine competition.

Schwimmer also appeared in the independent film, Love N' Dancing, starring Amy Smart.[10] He was the cover story in a 10-page spread in "Dancer Magazine", January 9 issue, which featured his own photography.[11] Schwimmer also costarred in the comedy "Leading Ladies".[12]

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 [13] the short program of American figure skater Jeremy Abbott, which was first performed at the 2011 Cup of China. Benji has since choreographed for 2 different Winter Olympics, including Adam Rippon's "O" .

In 2018, Schwimmer announced his retirement[14] from competing at The Open Swing Dance Champions, being the only dancer to win 14 World Titles with 4 different partners, never taking a loss.

Schwimmer is currently developing TV and film projects for 2022.

Personal life[edit]

Schwimmer is openly queer. He came out publicly in 2012, after being put through reparative therapy, struggling with his sexuality for a number of years. The catalyst for his decision was the death by suicide of two gay friends.[15][16][17] He has since left the LDS Church[18] and publicly criticized their policies against members of the LGBT community.[19]

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 [20]
  • 2002 USA Sing Net "Person of the Year" [21]
  • 2002 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz[22][23][24]
  • 2005 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz [25]
  • 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 - 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 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[26]
  • 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[27]
  • 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[28]
  • 2014 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Torri Smith[29]
  • 2015 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Nicole Clonch[30]
  • 2016 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Nicole Clonch[31]
  • 2017 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Nicole Clonch[32]
  • 2018 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st Place, partner Nicole Clonch[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Benji Schwimmer". So You Think You Can Dance. Archived from the original on July 5, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  2. ^ "Dance". Access Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 7, 2006.
  3. ^ "DanceDose - Benji Schwimmer". StarQuest. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  4. ^ "Redlands dancer swings and becomes a star - San Bernardino County Sun". Sbsun.com. Archived from the original on March 13, 2007. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  5. ^ "2005 Results". US Open Swing Dance Championships. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  6. ^ Hollingshead, Natalie (September 27, 2006). "LDS Week Benji dance (life main)". Daily Herald. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  7. ^ Faber, Judy (August 17, 2006). "Schwimmer a Winner on 'Dance'". CBS News. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  8. ^ "Buddy Schwimmer Dance holds Grand Opening". Redlands Daily Facts. March 29, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  9. ^ "2008 Results". The Open Swing Dance Championships. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  10. ^ "Love 'N Dancing Full Cast & Crew". imdb.com. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  11. ^ "Benji Meets World". Dancer Magazine Issue. January 11, 2009. Archived from the original on March 31, 2009. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  12. ^ "Leading Ladies :: Official Movie Site". Leadingladiesmovie.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  13. ^ "icenetwork.com: News". Web.icenetwork.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  14. ^ Eric B. Jacobson, Benji Schwimmer's Retirement at The Open 2018, retrieved 2018-12-26
  15. ^ Shana Naomi Krochmal (2012-06-18). "Benji Schwimmer's Naked Truth". Out Magazine. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Mormon Dance Champion Benji Schwimmer". Mormon Stories Podcast. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  18. ^ "1000-1001: Benji Schwimmer – Life After Mormonism". Mormon Stories. 2018-10-19. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  19. ^ "1000-1001: Benji Schwimmer – Life After Mormonism". Mormon Stories. 2018-10-19. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  20. ^ "2001 U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships". Streetswing.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  21. ^ "2002 "Person of the Year"". USA Sing Dance Network. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  22. ^ "US Open awards". Usopenswingdc.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  23. ^ "2002 list of US Open Swing Dance winners". Usopenswingdc.com. Archived from the original on 2012-08-24. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  24. ^ "2002 U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships". Streetswing.com. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  25. ^ "US Open Swing Dance, 2005 division winners". Usopenswingdc.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  26. ^ "US Open Swing Dance, 2009 division winners". Usopenswingdc.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-26. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  27. ^ "2011 U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships Winners". Usopenswingdc.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  28. ^ "2013". US Open Swing Dance Championships. Archived from the original on November 27, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  29. ^ "2014 Results". US Open Swing Dance Championships. Archived from the original on December 3, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  30. ^ "2015 Results". The Open Swing Dance Championships. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  31. ^ "2016 Competition Results and Videos – The US Open Swing Dance Championships". Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  32. ^ "2017 Competition Results – The US Open Swing Dance Championships". Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  33. ^ "Judge Marks and Results | Event Express Pro, LLC". eepro.com. Retrieved 2018-12-26.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Winner of So You Think You Can Dance
2006
Succeeded by