Hustle count


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1, 2, & 3? Or & 1, 2, 3?

I've seen teachers do it each way, and I've seen social dancers do it each way. Is there a traditional right or wrong answer? Is there a reason why one is considered better than the other, by people who are hustle enthusiasts? Where did the difference come from?

Personally, I learned 1, 2, & 3...and I have a very hard time getting a dance to feel right if I'm dancing with a leader who wants to lead the &1 style.



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Firstly , what you are describing is " street hustle ",which is a bastardised version of amer. swing , originally taught in many chain schools ,to an all slow count (many of older students were unable to deal with the real article-- latin hustle ) 1 , 2, & 3, is generally accepted as a much simpler way to commence, one seldom ,if ever , starts any dance on a syncop.In all my dance schools , my staff taught both versions . I,m curious,in what part of the world are you, that it is still prevalent ? .
Peaches said:
1, 2, & 3? Or & 1, 2, 3?
Disclaimer: I don't know squat about hustle. I'm answering in the hopes that somebody who really knows what's going on will rip my answer apart in an educational and entertaining fashion.

Um, what's the difference?

From what I've seen, street hustle (I don't think I've ever seen but one flavor of hustle, so I doubt that I've seen Latin hustle) is danced with travel on the whole beats (walk-walk), and in place, or with direction changes, on the syncopated beat (ball change).

Now, if you are used to traveling on the walks, and your partner leads you to travel on the ball change... I think you've got an irreconcilable problem there, but it is one I have never seen.

If what you are facing is that you want to start with the walks, and your partner wants to start with the ball change.... Well, neither of those is right or wrong, and you should probably learn to start both ways. If I were teaching this dance, I would probably teach students to start with the walking step, but count it as "2", which is really drunk. (Reread the disclaimer.)

I say that neither of these is right, because there is no single movement in this basic step that always lines up with the music. The dance takes three beats, the music is repeating in fours. So the accent in the music keeps falling on a different step of the basic.

One of the most interesting demonstrations I've ever seen for counting hustle was at a Skippy Blair intensive. She was claiming that one problem a lot of dancers have when dancing hustle is that they get dragged by the count and start dancing waltz.

To demonstrate this, she had a pair of dancers illustrating hustle basics while she counted out loud (...&1 2 3 &1 2 3...), and sure enough, it looked like hustle usually does. (in my experience. Reread disclaimer.) Then she had that same couple dance, while she used a different count (...&1 2 1 &2 1 2 & 1 2 ...), and the dance changed. It stopped looking like waltz, and started to look like the dancers were listening to the music.

If this answer helps, good luck.
There were tons of different hustles, but only about two of them really "survived", and they're like Hebrew and Latin- dead language except for nerds, LOL. I'm such a nerd! I LOVE Hustle!

We count Latin as 1, 2, 3&4, 5, 6 (that's point, replace, cha-cha-cha, walk-walk), and any moves we do are generally six-count, BUT as long as you put your left foot on the "end" and can begin again with your point, it's ok- we've done three, four, five, sometimes eight if it's confusing.

We've been making up stuff for Latin hustle and it's really a blast!


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my username should make it glaringly clear where I stand on this issue ;)

I've seen it, and danced it, counted 12&3. That's fine if you start by dancing a bare-basic hustle where you both step toward each other on "1". But like MQ said, once you get past the basics, you start by breaking on the "&". In that case whether you count it &123 or &3 12 is technically irrelevant, but if you've mentally attached a step to a number it *really* messes with your head (especially if you have a partner who likes to count out loud!). I have the "complete hustle syllabus" videos from Joe Baker, and he prefers 12&3 (though he also shows steps counted &123 to appease those who are used to that method). However, regardless of which count he is using, he always breaks on the "&", with the exception of the very basic non-rotating step where it is possible to start by stepping forward. But once you learn the cool fun steps, who the heck does those anymore?


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a or b?

You are describing " street " or 3 count, the one most closely aligned with swing, that emerged way after " Latin Hustle " , was proving difficult for many of the older students in the chain schools ." Latin " being derived from west coast swing. Many steps in all 4, are interchangeable. I think once you have learned " latin", it becomes the one of choice for most. Have taught literally thousands , and seldom , if ever, did I get asked for 3 count when it emerged. But, its always a matter of personal choice .One last thing about dance, always tie everything together with good sound basics . As professionals, we get tired of watching people who do not realise the importance of the "cement " that holds the bricks together ( or keeps them apart ) , being ignored .


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1 2 &3. Though I do realize that ballroom teaches &1 2 3. But then they do a lot of other stuff weird (eg, starting a swing move on the triples instead of on the rock-step; teaching salsa completely in English (very confusing knowing what to do when no Spanish is used -- we know what "cumbia" and "cucaracha" are, but "back break"/"side break"? Do don't have that much time to decipher while dancing.)).

tangotime said:
I,m curious,in what part of the world are you, that it is still prevalent ? .
Orange County, California. Through whatever chain of teachers that leads to Tom and Julie Mattox (she was widowed in 2002 and she has remarried as Julie Ward). At one Hustle workshop, she demonstrated by it's 1 2 &3 instead of &1 2 3. For the lady's styling, you want the hand to go up/out on the up-beat, which happens when you dance on the 1 2 &3, but not on the &1 2 3.

In Tom & Sossie Hyatt's Hustle class (new proprietors of the Mattox' Club House, now renamed "Top Cats"), they also taught 1 2 &3. However, before the 1, he'd have us do a &3 check-step as a starter step. So that at least that would give a couple from the two different schools a common starting point to sync up at.

BTW, both the Hyatts and Julie (I don't know about Tom Mattox) come from or have strong ties to the Western dance community, so this difference might be in part due to the differences that have developed between the Western and ballroom communities.


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Incidentally back break would be- " atras parada "-- cumbia is a non descriptive term in relation to direction, cumbia is a dance, hence the danger of attributing names that have no literal meaning , better e.g. vuelta, turn / revolution .And possibly one of the worst ( from intern. latin ) new yorker, which in the american terminology is crossover break. could do a whole discourse on this , but , I do understand and sympathise with your dilemma ., it affects pretty much everyone. Hispanics dont know why some of the names attributed to steps , make absolutely no sense in english and vice versa . I try in my classes to illustrate whenever possible alternate names that may have more meaning, some , just dont translate .Add to the confusion, is the naming of steps in different cultural dances by people who try to anglicise them to suit their needs . At least with international style, everyone world wide uses the same names . Hope I didnt muddy the waters too much !!
As professionals, we get tired of watching people who do not realise the importance of the "cement " that holds the bricks together ( or keeps them apart ) , being ignored .
As rejects, we're used to being ignored, so we just enjoy the dance :D


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tangotime said:
One last thing about dance, always tie everything together with good sound basics . As professionals, we get tired of watching people who do not realise the importance of the "cement " that holds the bricks together ( or keeps them apart ) , being ignored .
I'm pretty full of "cement" when it comes to Hustle, I think. My point was that the basic two-hand-hold in-place non-turning step is simply not used once you begin rotating and using alternative holds. It's probably only used to teach the count and the push-pull connection without worrying about footwork and turning, or at least that's how I was taught. There's just no way I would stick something like that in the middle of a series of steps that flow and turn. It would totally kill the movement. I would, however, use it to help a newbie understand how to dance Hustle. If I recall correctly, the unofficial "syllabus" starts with the basic in place, then the basic turning 1/4, then turning 1/2. Baby steps :)


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Meh, I'm not much of a hustle dancer. I've had a 4-week group class, which covered a basic push, some grapevines, around the world, sliding doors, some variations on cuddle wrap thingies, some interesting inside/outside turn things with hand changes...that's about it.

So far, for my low level, the best advice I think I've gotten is just to keep my feet moving and let myself go where I'm guided. Seems to work OK. If my teacher is leading and wants to do something more interesting, he'll prep my by warning me that he's going to syncopate something, and then leading it. So far, so good.

I can follow either count, it's just that &123 feels odd to me, since I was originally taught with 12&3. I'm in Maryland, and my teacher was originally a C&W dancer, FWIW. For fast songs I'll do a straight 4-count hustle.

So...what's this latin hustle?
I can't help it- I've gotten HOOKED on Hustle. Everyone has their "non-serious pet dance"- mostly it's swing or salsa or something- no... Hustle has adopted me. I think it's because it feels like West Coast only it's more glidey. And I can make stuff up in it so long as I have my "pointing foot" free to start the next sequence.
Wow, Ive just re-read this thread like 50 times. Didnt someone say you should do 12&3 to emphasize the music with the ladies extended arm styling?? I cant find it now, but if someone could point it out, Id like to argue! ;)

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