Originating in New York City nightclubs during the 70s, the Hustle is a dance that became internationally popular at a surprisingly rapid rate following movies such as "Saturday Night Fever" with John Travolta's stunning dance routines. Bands such as ABBA and The Bee Gees helped propel it to the status of an enduring club dance, rather than just a passing fad.
Looking back nearly 40 years, today's Ballroom dancing actually owes a lot to the Hustle style and the popularity of "disco music" that ignited a decade-long craze. The proliferation of disco nightclubs (or "discothèques") in major cities may now be part of 20th century history, but musical influences and many of the dance steps remain part of our culture...and we should be grateful it turned out that way.
This is the dance that finally brought people together again – partner dancing – on dance floors after the 1960s, when a large percentage of social dancing mirrored a long trend of "doing your own thing."
Back then, dancers freely improvised their steps or patterns, separated from their partners, often inspired by "psychedelic rock" or "hard rock" bands of the era. With no real physical connection, lead or follow, it was about as far from any Ballroom dancing as you could get.
There are a few different styles for today's Hustle. Which style you choose is a personal choice. One that is predominantly taught at our studios – as well as many other local ballroom studios – is the New York Hustle.
People add hustle to their dance repertoire for a variety of reasons. Some do it for a change of pace from the dances they focus on in Ballroom competitions or performances. For other dancers, it takes them back to the “good ‘ole days.” And some like it because when they hear the music, they can’t help but move. Similar in some patterns in many variations of swing styles, it's a joyful dance.
One of our studio managers talked to some students about why they enjoy the Hustle and here is what they said:
"It’s fun, reminiscent of disco days gone by... and adaptable to music today that has a beat to make you move."
"The Hustle is fast, and makes me smile the entire time. It’s sorta like riding the tea cups at Disneyland!"
"Like West Coast Swing, you can dance it to more modern songs. You can really play with the music and just have fun."
Even if you were not around or old enough to remember when the Hustle began, this is a dance that people can relate to and enjoy at any age. It just simply feels good to do it!
Hope to see you on the dance floor!
Cheryl Burke Dance Studios are located in two California locations: Mountain View and Laguna Niguel. For more information, see cherylburkedance.com and click on "Contact Us" or see our Facebook pages.
© 2012, Cheryl Burke Dance, LLC. All rights reserved.