History of the Hustle
Unlike many other ballroom dances, the origins of the Hustle aren’t buried in the distant past. Many hustle fans can still remember when the dance first swept the country in the mid to late 1970s following the release of the blockbuster film, Saturday Night Fever.
As with so many other dance crazes, the hustle began in the dance clubs and party scene of New York City. Dancers in the local Latino community created the dance, infusing the salsa with some swing, mambo, and even tango. The popularity of dance competitions, which attracted many of the city’s best dancers, introduced the hustle to the mainstream, and dancers throughout the country began to introduce variations of the original steps. Line and partner versions of the hustle were developed, with Saturday Night Fever depicting several types of each. Disco fever hit its peak in the middle years of the decade, and the hustle became the dance that defined pop culture for the post-sixties generation.
Once the hype that surrounded the film died down in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the hustle lost some of its luster as people began to rediscover other Latin dances. It has since regained some of its appeal, however, particularly with the popularity of the TV series, That ’70s Show, and the trend among many stylish hosts to hold ’70s-themed parties and events.