First you have to understand that New York City is the birth place of The Hustle. If you talk to 10 different people from New York, you’ll get 10 different responses as to how it started, how it developed and who was responsible for it; but, the one thing that every one of those 10 New Yorkers will agree upon is that The Hustle started here, in the Big Apple.
To be sure, it rode the wave of change of popular music that occurred during the early seventies and went through several evolutions, however; around 1974-1975 something stuck, and it developed into something more than just a fad; it actually became a dance. And what made it unique was that it was the only dance at the time that could be done to a wide range of popular music. So it became something that could be done in the clubs, and it brought back “touch” dancing which hadn’t been around in the pop scene for more than a decade since the Lindy.
Once Saturday Night Fever exploded on the scene in 1977, the dance craze received a fresh shot of adrenaline and The Hustle was here to stay. However, the portrayal of Hustle in the film was nothing like what we were doing in the clubs of New York. To many of us purist Hustle dancers, the film was sacrilege and we couldn’t stand it for that reason. A lot of us actually hated it because it was a caricature of what we did and were doing in the clubs and with the dance. But the rest of America bought it and the movie became a social phenomena. Still, although we hated how the dance was portrayed, we did like the way it recreated the dynamic of going out and dancing all night to the wee hours of the morning.