If you were into the dancing scene in the 1970s and 1980s, you are sure to have danced the hustle. For the uninitiated, the Hustle is a dynamic, flashy and powerful dance form that originated in the 1970s. It is rooted in a 6 count basic although the final form is a 3 count basic with some extended patterns. The Hustle was designed for the club and party music scene and is known as the ‘sports car’ of the dance family.
Most people believe the Hustle was created by Puerto Ricans from the South Bronx. By 1974, it became known as the “Spanish Hustle’, and later the Latin Hustle, and New York Hustle, before every prefix was dropped and the dance form was finally christened the Hustle. Some of early pioneers of the dance form were George Vascones, Willie Estrada, and Debbie Benitez, to name a few. John Travolta, the star of Saturday Night Fever was taught the Spanish Hustle by the Latin Symbolics Dance Team.
The dance form was associated with good time and a Pavlovian feeling that brought everyone onto the dance floor. The foot work is simple and the pattern easily adaptable, which is why it is one of the top dances taught at studios across the US. Funky music rules in the Hustle, which was transformed from a 1, 2, 3&4, 5, 6 to &1, 2, 3, a 3 count pattern. It became the theme for most nightclubs where Funk and the new sounds of Disco made the dance more vibrant with strong beats that laid the foundation for many other dance forms. Movies like ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘The Hustle’ capitalized on the popularity of the dance form. While it was a time of fuzzy hair and colorful clothes, there’s much more to the Hustle which has evolved over time. The tempos today are a tad slower than the faster disco versions which had people burning the dance floors with their feet in the 1980s. While it may be associated with Disco, the Hustle is and will be a partner dance that is used socially and competitively. Besides, it is one of the best dance forms to impress your friends within the first few seconds you hit the dance floor.
In the Hustle, the Leader and Follower change positions during each pattern. The movements are generally smooth. The Follower moves in a linear position or slot while the Leader uses positions outside the slot to guide the Follower. The leader does a ball-change / Left-foot to right foot while the Follower only does a ball change / Right-foot to Left foot on the &1.The dance can use traveling patterns as partners change position on the dance floor or done on-spot.
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