Upon leaving St. Louis, Kenny moved to Las Vegas, Nevada looking to get into show business, partnering with Ione for about three years. They were billed as "Kenny and Ione". It was here he met a lot of Los Angeles dancers. He came to California in the 1950's and settled in Glendale, CA. with his mother, 2 sisters and nephew Mike. There he would meet many more swing dancers and started teaching for the Arthur Murray studios in Glendale and later Palm Spring as well. He Still danced in Las Vegas and danced quite a bit there on stage, even danced with Ione in "Artists and Models" in the early 1960's.
Kenny was well versed in all styles of dance and would win many Dance & Swing Contests including the Harvest Moon Ball. Kenny was also a Champion Golden Gloves Prizefighter who would work with " Sonny Liston." He was also a very funny man and became a successful comedian who eventually opened the show for legendary comedian " Lenny Bruce" for many years which you could see in his brand of 'colorful comedy'.
Later, Kenny would hold many dances at local nightclubs and would be one of the very first DJ's to spin records for dancers here in the United States starting in the 1960s. Kenny would hold his very first swing dance, with he as D.J. at the Legendary "Staircase" in Downey, CA. This would prove to be his special calling in life as no one could spin music and MC as well as Kenny. Kenny probably did more to keep swing dance alive than any other human, through his Dancing, Choreography, Teaching, Emceeing, DJ'ing and support of all who danced or competed, especially during the 1960's and 1970's when most had quit or retired.
Kenny is mainly known for his swing dance formats but many don't realize he DJ'ed many other types of dance venues as well such as Hustle and Latin dances in the 1960s thru 1970s. Kenny Choreographed many winning swing dance routines for some of the best names in the West Coast Swing and Lindy Hop swing dance world such as Mary Ann Nunez and Lance Shermoen, Jim Fisk, Sharlott Jansen-Bott-Scheuffle, Eddy Vega and Lisa Nunziella, Robert Cordoba, Keldee B. and many more... just to name a few. The video clip on the right shows Kenny later in life, he was still amazing even older and out of shape.
As a LEADER in the SWING DANCE COMMUNITY, Kenny founded and formed the " R.E.B.E.L.S. Swing Dance Club" (Rebels) in Los Angeles with Dino and Al White in July of 1982 at the Lion D' Or in Downey, Ca. and later moved to the King's Table Lounge - later called the Press Box in Westminster, CA. Soon after, he joined Sonny Watson in many nightclubs in the Los Angeles / San Fernando Valley area as well in the 1980's. Kenny's Club (R.e.b.e.l.s.) was so popular that other clubs throughout the country would franchise with Kenny on his club name. Kenny was emcee / or DJ to almost all swing events throughout the country as well as the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships for 18 years. Kenny supported everyone who was into dancing and knew just about everyone as well in the dance community. Kenny semi-retired in November of 1998 after DJ'ing and MC'ing for over 35 years. Kenny passed away due to a brain tumor in March of 2000 at the age of 71. Kenny is missed by many who knew him well and those who never knew him unknowingly benefit from Kenny Wetzel's life in dance today.