Dancing with the Stars Wiki
Benji Schwimmer
Dwts schwimmer
Performer Profile
Birth Date 18 January 1984 (1984-01-18) (age 40)
Hometown Newport Beach, California

Appearance(s) 7 Week 8
8 Week 5

Benjamin Daniel Schwimmer 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 has been a guest performer in Dancing with the Stars in seasons seven and eight.

Early Life[]

Schwimmer grew up in a Mormon household in Moreno Valley, California. He is the son of choreographer and West Coast Swing dancer Buddy Schwimmer. His mother, Laurie Schwimmer, and sister, Lacey Schwimmer, are also west-coast swing dancers.

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. He attended high school in both Moreno Valley (Valley View) and Redlands but then transferred to independent study because of his pursuit of dance. He finished his studies early, and then taught dance for one semester at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa.

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. 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. 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.


After returning to the United States from Mexico, he returned to dancing. He auditioned 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 16 August 2006.

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

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. Benji was also tapped to be a correspondent reporter for the show Reality Remix on the FOX Reality Network.

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

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 the short program of American figure skater Jeremy Abbott, which was first performed at the 2011 Cup of China.

In 2018, Schwimmer announced his retirement[10] from competing at The Open Swing Dance Championships (formerly known as the U.S. Open).

Personal Life[]

Schwimmer is openly gay. He came out publicly in 2012, after struggling with his sexuality for a number of years. The catalyst for his decision was the death by suicide of three gay friends.