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... page updated:  September 15, 2000

During the late 1960s and early '70s, Black, Puerto Rican and Cuban dance clubs in New York and Miami started a revolution in urban music and dance that, by the mid-1970s, had moved into the mainstream.    We know it as the "disco era"... Travolta, "Saturday Night Fever", polyester suits, platform shoes... the whole 9 yards!    Whatever you think of those fashion styles today, the music itself was dynamic -- combining Afro-Caribbean and Latin American rhythms and instrumentation with harmonies and melodies from American Motown and R&B.

Along with these new sounds, the Disco era was characterized by a flashy new style of dancing together... as couples!    While the music was called "disco", the dance itself was "the Hustle".   

Hustle started making a significant comeback in major North American cities during the late 1990s, its revival fueled by

  • suitable new music (eg. Energy 103.1 in Southwestern Ontario),
  • the current revival of '70s music (eg. ABBA, and the musical "Mama Mia"),
  • the continued familiarity of "Discotheque" style clubs... flashing lights, mirrors, a loud throbbing beat, etc. (sound familiar?)

The Hustle is a partnered dance that works well with a wide variety of currently popular musical formats... classic disco, Rock, today's R&B, top 40, dance, funk, house & techno.    Typical Hustle music has every beat accented... the "boom-boom-boom" kind of percussion.    It's a driving or pulsing kind of sound -- with absolutely no Swing "feel" to it.

While it can be danced very smoothly, Hustle is usually done with a lot of snap, acceleration, flash and posing.    Whichever, it is a fast-moving, Latin-based dance that focuses on spinning and direction change.    Hustle is an "attack dance"... it never stops flowing!!

While the Hustle can be danced at tempos up to about 140+ beats per minute (or 'BPM'), it's more comfortablly done to music in a range of 110-125 BPM.    It even works down in the 100 BPM range.

Newcomers love the basic simplicity of Hustle's footwork, not to mention the wide variety of optional patterns, syncopations and body stylings available.

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