Dancers don’t typically court fame in the same way as other celebrities. However, without dancers, you wouldn’t have musicals, street dance or choreographed extravaganzas like Michael Jackson’s landmark masterpiece Thriller. Through interpretive movements that take a huge amount of coordination, balance and control, dancers are able to express what actors can’t. These are 10 of the most famous dancers named Ken.
- Ken Ard – After working with greats like Nina Simone as a child, Ken Ard eventually went on to perform choreography for some of the most prominent jazz artists of the 21st century. Predominantly a ballet dancer, Ken drifted towards jazz during the 90s, which culminated in the release of his first jazz album, “Ballads, Blues & Cocktails.”
- Ken Berry – He is better known as a sitcom actor, most notably for his roles in F Troop and The Andy Griffith Show. However, Ken Berry was also an accomplished dancer and singer. On Broadway, he made appearances in The Billy Barnes Revue and in George M!. Berry was also a frequent guest on Abbott and Costello, as both a singer and dancer.
- Ken Cosgrove – Played by Aaron Staton in the popular series Mad Men, character Ken Cosgrove tried his hand at tap dancing in one episode – replete with tweed suit and cane. Nobody quite knows what the impromptu dance added to the scene, but it went viral on the Internet, as these things often do. There were a number of parodies created of the scene, including one that uses Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” as the musical backdrop. The Internet is often a cruel puppet-master, but in this case the uncalled for publicity only served to push the show to even greater heights.
- Kenneth Walker – This former dancer with the Ballet Pacifica launched the Kenneth Walker Dance Project in 2004. The non-profit project aims to bring dance to communities that never get to experience any form of the expressive arts. To date, the project has successfully introduced shows to a number of festivals across the country, and it grows in strength with each passing year. It is Kenneth Walker’s hope that the project will introduce dance to a generation who would have otherwise never have had the chance.
- Ken Fury – B-Boy Kenny – as he’s known on the streets of Pueblo, Colorado – taught himself to break dance at the age of 11. He later pursued his dream with Full Circle Productions in New York, before landing dancing roles in commercials for Toshiba and Starburst. Fury remains a big name on the street dance scene, hugely famous in this relatively small circle of performers.
- Kenny Everett – This madcap British comedian had a penchant for dance that was just as crazy as the rest of his routine. Everett’s dance style was, for lack of a better term, unconventional for the time. However, by today’s standards his moves would be hailed as the latest craze. Unfortunately, Kenny lost his battle with AIDS in 1995, a terrible loss to both his family and the British public.
- Kenneth MacMillan – From 1970 to 1977, MacMillan served as the artistic director of the Royal Ballet in London. His work in choreography is where his true talents were, although he was an accomplished dancer in his own right, too. Some of his notable works included Valses nobles et sentimentales in 1966, and Anastasia in 1967 and again in 1971. MacMillan sadly passed away from a heart attack in 1992, at the age of 62.
- Kenneth Branagh – Although he is commonly known for his Shakespearean roles, Kenneth Branagh has danced in West End musicals, on screen during the British Television series “Thompsons,” and in many other productions. It is no surprise, then, that Branagh has been tipped to take over the job as head of the National Theatre.
- Kenny Ortega – Another great choreographer, Kenny Ortega worked with Madonna on “Material Girl” and in Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” live performances, winning awards for both. However, his greatest work was on the choreography for the iconic dance movie Dirty Dancing, which starred the late Patrick Swayze. Dirty Dancing is still heralded as being one of the best dance-centric movies to this day.
- Kenny Loggins – Better known as the voice behind “Footloose,” Kenny Loggins inspired a generation to dance. The movie, starring Kevin Bacon, was one of many pivotal movies focused on the medium of dance in the 80s. Bacon’s seminal performance made Footloose an iconic movie, however, it was Loggins’ voice and catchy guitar riff that sold the title song.
Special thanks to Kenney Myers of kenneymyers.com for sharing this article!