KEN SWIFT is one of the greatest influences the dance of B-Boying has known. Considered “The Epitome of a B-Boy,” B-Boys and B-Girls worldwide have emulated his image and style throughout the years. Ken is credited with establishing movements critical to the dances’ foundation with his personal style and techniques.
He is a true pioneer recognized worldwide for his continued contributions throughout the last 32 years of promoting, educating and preserving the art form. He continues to be a driving force in the global culture and is constantly invited to attend, judge and compete in competitions around the world.
Aside KEN SWIFT’s successful individual career he has collaborated with and is one of the original members of the world renowned Rock Steady Crew (RSC), the first group of B-Boys to receive professional recognition from the media and their peers. With Ken as the Vice President of the crew, they appeared in television and films including Graffiti Rock (1983), Style Wars (1982), Wild Style (1982), Flashdance (1983), The David Letterman Show (1983), and Beat Street (1982).
As a recording artist with RSC Ken received gold and silver records for the single “Hey You, The Rock Steady Crew.” (Virgin/Charisma, 1984) The album, “Ready for Battle,” which included two dance videos, reached out to a larger Pop audience worldwide, brought about tours to Europe and Asia, bringing Breaking to a world audience for the first time.
In 1996, Ken co-authored, co-directed, co-choreographed and performed Off-Broadway’s first Hip Hop musical “Jam On The Groove.” One hundred performances led to a Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Choreography in the 1995-1996 seasons. For these achievements, Ken and Ghettoriginal Productions Dance Company received a Bessie Award for choreography.
In 1999, Hip Hop Culture was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum for which Ken was asked to produce an installation. His career led him to open the KEN SWIFT School of Hip Hop Fundamentals at Breaklife Studios in Brooklyn in 2005.
Ken has judged dance championships all over the world in countries such as France, Switzerland, Sweden, China, South Africa, Finland, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Venezuela, Norway, Germany, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Russia, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the throughout the U.S.
He started VII Gems as a dance company in 1996, a company dedicated to the preservation of New York City traditional dances; Breaking and Rocking. He directed and choreographed the first ever Rock Dance theater piece entitled "Rockin It" that toured 8 cities throughout the UK in May of 2009 sponsored by the Breaking Convention, a Sadler Wells Project. The company consists of members whom average over 30 years of dance experience, authentic pioneer dancers from the early years of these dances. The company is involved in numerous dance classes, lectures, demonstrations, performances, panels, film screenings, competitions, and workshops throughout the world.
Due to Ken’s contributions as a pioneer of B Boy Culture, he’s received two Lifetime Achievement Awards, one from The Mighty IV, a nationally renowned annual Breaking event in North California, and a Louis Reyes Rivera Lifetime Achievement Award presented to him at Amherst College. In 2007, Ken received an Appreciation Award from Seoul Arts College as well as a Hall of Fame Living Legend Award from the Korean Tourism Agency, which declared him as an Honorary Ambassador of Korea and positive influence on youth cultures worldwide. In 2008, he received the Award of Recognition at the Coffey Park Old School Reunion. In 2009, Ken was awarded a Zulu Nation Achievement Award at Take 1 in Belgium, as well as an Appreciation Award from Encountras las Ruas at the Joinville Dance Festival in Brazil. Most recently in 2010, the Ultimate B-Boy Championship in Las Vegas presented Ken with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his preservation and dedication to B-Boy culture. Also in 2010, Ken was awarded the National Endowment for the Art's American Masterpieces in Dance award to reconstruct his choreography with Olive Dance Theatre in a show titled "Swift Solos: The Re-Construction of KEN SWIFT’s 20th Century Breakin’," which tours cities in the United States throughout 2010.
Kenny has been invited to Japan many times, starting in 1983, when he visited the country with the Wild Style tour. That was the moment, when Hip Hop culture arrived in Japan. “I love the country! I’ve been going there for a long time. People have always paid me respect and I love the food!”
Asked about his way of judging a B-Boy battle Kenny says, “There's no one way of judging a battle. You have to look at all the variables of what’s in front of you and determine who's B-Boying the best, who’s executing movement with style, who’s into the music, who’s rocking it,