The hustle is one of my favorite social dances. It is a partner dance that comes from disco dancing. It’s fast, energetic, and has lots of turns.
The lady is spinning almost constantly while her partner pulls her in and out. It has some features in common with swing dance.
The music is what makes this dance so much fun – who doesn’t like ’70s music? Studio 54 of New York City, in fact, was made famous due to the hustle and the disco style.
The name “hustle” came from the hustle line dance. In 1973, at The Grand Ballroom disco, a new dance started in which people “touched.” It was a simple six-count step, with inside and outside turns. It would later evolve into the hustle.
Men in the club took an interest and it began to gain popularity. The hustle also made a showing in the movie “Saturday Night Fever.” Hustle can be danced to the contemporary pop music of the past 20 years.
The hustle was mostly popular in New York City but spread across the U.S. in 1974 and 1975 – dance contests were popping up in every city.
The 1960s almost killed ballroom dancing, because there was so much freedom of dancing without a partner, and it was so much easier to learn to dance on your own rather than with a partner. However, the hustle did eventually develop into a competitive dance.
There are several competitions throughout the U.S. and overseas as well for just the hustle. Ballroom dance has now adopted the hustle as one of its competitive dances, along with ChaCha, salsa, Samba, Mambo and others.
Hustle has always been a crowd pleaser. In fact, it inspired me to build an entire showcase around it one year. Hustle embraces colorful costumes, lively music and makes for a visually exciting show.
Hustle can be done socially and competitively in ballrooms and nightclubs. It is easy to learn because the music drives it. Give it a try sometime!
Sandro Virag is a partner and instructor at Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio of Hilton Head, located in Bluffton at Seaquins Ballroom. hiltonheadballroom.com