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 70s.
As with so many other dance crazes, the Hustle began in the dance clubs and the 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 all the while using largely Cha-Cha-inspired music. The popularity of dance competitions at the time, 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-60s generation.
Once the hype that surrounded the film died down in the late 70s and early 80s, 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.