The Hustle is the last authentic American partner dance born and cultivated in the U.S. It is now danced everywhere: ballrooms, nightclubs, Latin clubs, parties, and even at wedding receptions.
The Hustle of today has borrowed from several dance styles including smooth ballroom to incorporate traveling movements and pivots. There are lots of turns and spins, making the Hustle exciting and full of energy.
Currently, the dance has representations in Canada, the Caribbean, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and of course, the U.S.
Like almost all other dances, the Hustle developed over time and there was not a sharp demarcation as to when the Hustle started.
In the 1960s and throughout the 1970s, discotheques were a popular form of entertainment in Europe and America. During the 1970s, dancing in the discotheques was mostly freestyle - similar to the "Rock" exhibited by pop stars (such as the Jackson Five) of the days.
In the late 1960s, the Cubans in Florida fused Salsa, Swing and the new disco beat. This new form of dance would make its way to the eastern states such as New York, where it would be adopted and developed.
Professional members of the performing arts added ballet arms, long lines, and elasticity to the dance. To seek an edge in competitions, acrobatic and adagio movements were incorporated into the dance.
The name "Hustle" was originally a line dance of the same name. The partner dance that was to later borrow the name when the movie "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) hit the scene is believed to be the one that originated in Florida. In fact, in "Saturday Night Fever", both the line dance and partner dance were featured.
The 1975 Grammy Award winning song "Do the Hustle", by Van McCoy, only added to the popularity of the Hustle craze.
The partner dance form of the Hustle is usually called the New York Hustle or Latin Hustle. It has some resemblance to, and steps in common with, Swing and Salsa dancing. As in the Latin dances, couples tend to move within a "spot" on the dance floor, as opposed to following a line of dance as in Foxtrot, or as opposed to tracking within a slot as in West Coast Swing or LA Hustle.
One similarity between the Hustle and Swing is that the lead takes the rock step on his left foot; however, if the dance is taught by counting, the rock step happens at the beginning of the count - "and-one, two, three" rather than at the end of the count as in Swing - "left, right, rock-step". This can confuse beginner leads who are used to triple-step swing, because the lead rock-steps on the right side of his "track" in the Swing basic but on the left side in the Hustle basic.
There is a recognized governing body of the Hustle dance. It is the International Hustle Dance Association (IHDA). Two of its former presidents are William (Billy) Fajardo and Arte Phillips (1958-2008). There are regular IHDA-sanctioned competitions throughout the year.
For more videos, search