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Benjiman "Benji" Schwimmer (born on January 18, 1984) is an American professional swing dancer who has won several national competitions. On August 16, 2006 he was also crowned "America's Favorite Dancer," as the winner of the second So You Think You Can Dance competition, a #1-rated television series.

Biography
Schwimmer was born January 18, 1984 in Newport Beach, California, and grew up in Moreno Valley, California. He is the son of "King of Swing" Buddy Schwimmer, who is of great fame in the West Coast Swing world, and the cousin of David Schwimmer, an actor who is best known for playing the character Ross in the American television series "Friends."
He performed his first dance recital at age 6 months and started competing when he was 5-years-old. He attended high school in Moreno Valley and Redlands, but then switched to independent study because of his parents' travel schedule. He finished his studies early, and then taught dance for one semester at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa.
Benji Schwimmer and another of his cousins, Heidi Groskreutz (herself a top-4 finalist on "So You Think You Can Dance"), are also U.S.A Open Showcase Swing champions in West Coast style. Schwimmer left the dancing scene at the top of his class to serve a two year mission for the LDS Church in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. He has subsequently founded the charity organization Dancers Everywhere Making a Noticeable Difference (D.E.M.A.N.D.) for helping orphans in southern Mexico, and is a co-owner of a dance studio in Redlands, California.

So You Think You Can Dance 2006
After returning to the United States from Mexico, Schwimmer learned that his fiancee had broken up with him (he states that he learned this by seeing her wedding invitation, and noting that his name wasn't on it). To combat the resulting depression, Schwimmer returned to dancing. He was shown a video of the performance of the 2005 winner of "So You Think You Can Dance," Nick Lazzarini, and decided that he would himself audition for the 2006 season of "So You Think You Can Dance", along with his cousin and childhood dance partner Heidi Groskreutz, and her current dance partner, Dmitry Chaplin. All three of them made it to the top 20 finalists on the "performance" part of the competition, where Schwimmer and his first assigned dance partner, Donyelle Jones, successfully competed through the entire first part of the season without either of them being eliminated or being in the bottom three couples, such that they both proceeded to the top 4. Schwimmer was named the overall winner on August 16, 2006. This was a different kind of title from his earlier swing dance awards, as the televised competition required versatility in several different dance styles, and the final voting was done not by a panel of judges, but by American phone-in votes. According to the show, the finale brought in 16 million votes, with a total of 70 million over the course of the season. During the season, the judges routinely said that while Schwimmer was not necessarily the best technical dancer, that he was clearly the best in terms of performance and entertainment.

The prizes for winning the competition included a car, a one-year contract to perform in Celine Dion's Las Vegas show, and $100,000 USD. However, in an interview for Seattle Times, Schwimmer indicated that he had turned down the Dion contract, saying that though it was an honor, it wasn't really his genre of dance, and he did not wish to be tied to Las Vegas for a full year.

Future projects
Schwimmer and the rest of the top-10 finalists will be performing in a national tour starting in September 2006 (see So You Think You Can Dance (Season 2) for details). Most of the dates sold out within hours (Seattle sold out within 30 minutes, and New York within 11 minutes).  In August 2006, in an interview for Entertainment Weekly, Schwimmer revealed that he may be being cast as Fred Astaire in an upcoming motion picture.. However, Schwimmer later revealed on his myspace blog that this is not definite. During an interview with Regis Philbin, Schwimmer referred to the part as a possibility. According to a September 2006 Redlands article, Schwimmer was asked by Regis Philbin to be an alternate host on his program  According to the Seattle Times, Schwimmer is writing and co-producing a movie about dancing, in which both he and his cousin Heidi Groskreutz will appear. He is also working on a TV show on the lives of dancers. He has signed on to do a TV movie called "For the Love of Dance."

Awards
1991 US Open, Young America Div. (ages 6-11), 1st Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz
1992 US Open, Young America Div. (ages 6-12), 3rd Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz
1993 US Open, Young America Div. (ages 6-12), 4th Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz
1994 US Open, Young America Div. (ages 6-12), 2nd Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz
1995 US Open, Young America Div. (ages 6-11), 2nd Place, partner Heidi Groskreutz
2001 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, partner Heidi Groskreutz Video
2002 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, partner Heidi Groskreutz 2005 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division, 1st place, partner Heidi Groskreutz Video 
2006 So You Think You Can Dance, 1st place, "America's Favorite Dancer", after a tally of 16 million votes for the finale
 

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