The partnership between olive Dance Theatre and Ken Swift is unique and unprecedented in the traditional Hip hop dance form Breakin’. Ensemble members of oDT have followed Swift’s career and have taken on his philosophy as a breaker. oDT has reconstructed Ken Swift’s work for the concert stage to highlight the legitimacy of the form in the American dance cannon. SWIFT SOLOS by olive Dance Theatre was made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces Dance Initiative, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts.
About 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 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 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.
Due to Ken’s contributions as a pioneer of Bboy 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 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. In 2010, the Hip Hop Theater Fest has named Ken Swift an Official Honoree for his historic contributions to Hip Hop Theater. Most recently, 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 began touring in March of 2010.
About olive Dance Theatre
Founded in May 2002 by Artistic Director Jamie Merwin and choreographer Raphael Xavier, olive Dance Theatre (oDT) is a Philadelphia-based company whose mission is to incite social change through creativity and the arts. oDT presents interdisciplinary work steeped in and moving through American Hip Hop and Theatre vernacular, honoring and challenging folk roots with contemporary aesthetics. The company has a mission to validate indigenous American hip hop dance forms, specifically Breakin’, through the creation of new dance theatre works and the performance of these works in the theatre domestically and abroad.
Olive Dance Theatre educates audiences and communities with the form’s history and proper technique; and by doing so provide an outlet, appreciation and future for artists and practitioners of this dance. oDT mentors emerging artists with their own experiences and remain committed to the growth and development of our artistic communities.