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This profile was last updated on 5/5/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.


Company Description: Bridging Education and Art Together(B.E.A.T.) is a nonprofit organization in New York City that creates and operates extracurricular programs for urban youth. The...   more

Employment History

  • Founder, Own Chapter
    Rock Steady Crew
  • B-boy and President
    Rock Steady Crew
  • B-boy and Vice President
    Rock Steady Crew
158 Total References
Web References
B.E.A.T. NYC People » B.E.A.T. NYC, 5 May 2014 [cached]
Ken Swift
BEAT Breakers Instructor
Ken Swift Ken Swift is one of the greatest influences the dance of Bboying (otherwise known as Breaking or Breakdancing) has known.
Considered "The Epitome of a Bboy", Bboys and Bgirls worldwide have emulated Ken's 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 30 years of promoting, educating, and preserving the art form. He continues to be a driving force in its current global culture and is continually invited to attend, judge, and compete in competitions around the world.
Separate from 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 Bboys to receive professional recognition from the media and their peers. They also appeared in television and film including Graffiti Rock (1983), Style Wars (1982), Wild Style (1982), Flashdance (1983), The David Letterman Show (1983), and Beat Street (1982).
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 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 is involved in numerous dance classes, lectures, demonstrations, performances, panels, film screenings, competitions, and workshops throughout the world.
In 2010, the Hip Hop Theater Festival has named Ken Swift an Official Honoree for his historic contributions to Hip Hop Theater. Most recently, Ken was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts' American Masterpieces: Dance Award to reconstruct his choreography with Olive Dance Theater in a show entitled "Swift Solos," which began touring in March of 2010.
After touring the UK with legendary Bboy icon, Ken Swift and the VII Gems Rock Division in 2009, James began to recognize the void of hip hop in the educational system., 20 Oct 2014 [cached]
Legendary breakers such as Crazy Legs ..., 22 June 2007 [cached]
Legendary breakers such as Crazy Legs and Ken Swift of New York City's Rock Steady Crew and Boston's own Float became underground heroes rocking acrobatic moves on subway platforms and brick plazas in the early 1980s.A quarter century later, a new...
The Impact of Kung Fu Movies on Bboying - By Eric Pellerin -, 3 May 2006 [cached]
Ken Swift said "Every kung fu movie was like styles, people got they ass whipped, and they went back and got revenge, and it was cool, and that was like something maybe we saw this as kids in the hood, as something we dealt with every day in our lives, you know what I'm saying, dealing with the way we had to live, in school and at home."
Ken Swift explains, "42nd St. was like 'wow!', these are subtitled, they're putting these English voices over, these movies aren't even made in the States, that's even more like 'wow!,' you feel like you're really a part of something."
One thing that Ken, Trac, and Lep all brought up when asked how the films influenced them was routines. The elaborate choreography of Hong Kong martial arts movies inspired the B-Boys to choreograph their own routines with two or more dancers. In kung fu movies and B-Boy routines, creativity and constant practice is what makes the choreography. I asked Lep about the choreography he was involved with in the New York City Breakers.
Ken Swift talked about going to Japan to promote Wildstyle on the Wildstyle tour in 1982,"We took Japan by storm, I think they were shook, that movie Wildstyle, was like hard, rugged, rough Bronx. They show burnt buildings, the whole shit, and I think these people were just blown away by this shit that came from those conditions."
Ken was amazed that in Japan , American culture had already impressed the Japanese in a big way. He saw 20 Japanese Elvis impersonators where they were previewing the movie. He saw Japanese rock groups including a Japanese Kiss. While the Japanese were emulating American culture, American youth was appropriating from Asian culture, and showing the result to an Asian audience for the first time. Ken Swift, "We had to really show the influence of kung fu, martial arts, of kung fu movies in a dance piece, when we went to the Akasaka blitz, in Tokyo , and be in front of Asians, that was strange.
Shaolin Temple Hip-Hop was a piece that Ghettoriginal put together not to educate people, but as Ken Swift said "It was a bug out skit, lets have fun with our inspiration, one of our favorite inspirations, as B-Boys, that meant so much to us coming up.
Ken Swift formed his own chapter of Rock Steady in 1996, RSC Seven Grandmasters, based on the Joseph Kuo movie 7 Grandmasters. RSC Seven Grandmasters was a battle clique. Ken Swift, "And that was the elite unit of Rock Steady that was all about win, lose, or draw, battling anybody, going out there to war, and it had the same concept as Seven Grandmasters, going all over the country, doing different styles, fighting and challenging, that's a little what the movie was about."
RSC Seven Grandmasters were Ken Swift, Honey Rockwell, Mr. Wiggles, Flo-Master, Gizmo, Orko, and Katsu.
The movie 7 Grandmasters also inspired Ken Swift to create a new move.
Ken Swift Workshop: B Boy ..., 11 May 2010 [cached]
Ken Swift Workshop: B Boy Fundamentals
Ken Swift is a B-boy and former president of the Rock Steady Crew of which he was a long time member and key figure, he is now President of the VII Gems Hip Hop movement in NYC. Widely known in the B-Boy world as " the Epitome of a B-Boy, " Ken Swift is credited with the creation of many dance moves. Ken Swift is nearly universally considered to by B-Boys to be the individual who has had great influence on break dancing. Ken Swift began B-Boying in 1978 at the age of twelve when he was inspired by dancers on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Ken Swift is performing for the first time in the UK as part of Breakin' Convention at Birmingham Hippodrome on the 12th & 13th May with VII Gems Rock Dance Division in their new piece - ROCKIN IT.
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