Hustle count


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&1,2,3. Learned from a ballroom dancer in So. Cal.

I don't dance it anymore, so if that has changed, I wouldn't know.
Don't like being jerked all over while he just stands there.


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PasoDancer said:
Are you guys talking about the one that, IF counted (correctly or not) 1, 2, a-3 (or &3) it's a forward, replace, and quick back and replace?
Yup, that's the one I mean.

and to CCCC -- I can both follow and lead Hustle, and oddly enough it's kinda fun to "stand there" and lead the lady through all kinds of stuff 8)


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chandra said:
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! ;)
Don't know how much I can argue on it, since I don't have that much of a feel for hustle. I can do the basics and follow the music if it's not too radical and if the lady knows that to do she can follow me and usually compliments me on my lead, but it's still one of my weaker dances.

I pretty much presented the whole thing. When she demonstrated her point, she maintained that the arm styling should happen on the up-beat and that this would only happen if you started on the 1 and used the 12&3 count. I am not capable of working out the counts and the beats myself (especially not at this time of night and what with the miserably hot and humid weather here not letting me get much sleep), so I can only take her word on it. Let's see, she's been teaching for decades and dancing for even longer. Plus her deceased husband and dance teaching partner had been in the profession for a decade or two longer and was part of the original hustle scene (their web site has a picture of him when he was still slim and doing his John Travolta pose). Doesn't automatically make her right, but when a pro with that much experience has a definite reasoned opinion on a topic within her perview [¿spelling? it's late, the dictionaries are upstairs, and I couldn't find the word in linux.words], then I tend to defer to her opinion.

In your arguement against, could you please map out the music's beat and how that relates to the hustle count? Even though I'm a thinker (live by the counts), I also have a feeler side (just know what to do by how the music feels) that's been growing and asserting itself -- and it's mainly the feeler in me that's been handling hustle, so I haven't even begun to do a proper job of analyzing it.

"somewhere in the middle of nowhere"? Yeah, we visited there once. Had our picture taken next to the marker -- it's in one of the family albums that the lawyer's making copies of for me to have.

BTW, even though that marker is on the east end of Rugby, ND, on Hwy 2, according to Rand McNally the geographical center of North America is about 17 miles SSW of town.

Oh, yeah. Well, we figured that if anything should be the middle of nowhere, that should.
[grin, though in truth we have always called it the middle of nowhere]
That 12&3's the New York that we learned. I wouldn't demean anyone's choice of dancing willfully (with the exception of the country two-step, which IMO is open season), but that's gotta be the cheesiest hustle- It looks like two kids fighting over a moonpie while stuck in creek mud up to their calves.

But then, this from someone who just ADORES the "point and swish" of the Latin (read that La'-in Hustle- c'mon, try and say it without the T... so much cooler! So Terrance and Philip!)...


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chachachacat said:
&1,2,3. Learned from a ballroom dancer in So. Cal.

I don't dance it anymore, so if that has changed, I wouldn't know.
Don't like being jerked all over while he just stands there.
WCS must not rate very high either, then.


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Artisan, I think you obviously mis understood my statement. I did not imply that you should continue to dance basics on every other movement, only, that it is more enjoyable to watch someone ( in any dance ) return occasionally to basic structure. Even world champions ( in ballroom ), for example, are seen to use " basics " , from time to time. And the term " basic " does not mean " one " step ., but a simple combo.
I learned the 3-count Hustle on both coasts, both in ballrooms on the &123 count with the back step replace coming first.

It sounds like it may be the same difference as the FA and AM styles of American Rumba. One starts on the side together QQ, one starts Forward S but they are the same dance.
it is more enjoyable to watch someone ( in any dance ) return occasionally to basic structure.
Well, it's heartening, too, to know that you haven't "wasted" time, money, and sweat doing something that is irrecognizable to "pros" or "people who count".

My last brush with "real, modern Ballroom Competition" was watching the American Ballroom Challenge. What I saw was theatric drama, not dancing. Were it not for the music, I'd never have guessed what the dancers were doing. It all looked the same. Well, if it were on mute, you counted out your basic steps the way you were taught, you could, after a few seconds, see that "Oh, ... that's a cha-cha, but it looks NOTHING like ours... "

Nothing was recognizable. No basics. Just a lot of flailing and eyelashes. It was fun to watch, of course, don't get me wrong- I was hooked and I watch it again and again... but when dancing evolves to "that level"... it's not about the dancing, or even the proper execution of the dance. It's just whatever stands out from the rest (which is hard to do) and catches someone's eye, whether it's "right" or not. Everyone at the top is pretty equally matched (IMO) as far as ability... so they have to find different ways to make themselves a "signature icon". And that's the end of my insomniac monotribe for the .... morning? Yeah, Morning. Urgh.


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Theatrics-- paso d.

Put yourslef in my position, having to adjudicate some of the " balletic " movements that have virtually engulfed and obliterated the truer intepretation of the music. Yes , I know, paradigms happen,sad that it is at the expense of the general public. Why ?, many if not most people watching " Performance " art, can never envisage themselves in that arena, believe me, having competed as a child and adult all thru the u.k. system and in the states to a much lesser degree. It literally drove people away from our ( prof ) original intent-- get people dancing SOCIALLY !. Pretty much all comp. work now is driven by the almighty dollar .e.g. men doing one dance events as novices in tail suits. ( not against comps.-- but what they have turned into ) Could go on , but I think you get my point .Sounds somewhat like I am biting the hand that feeds me.Just trying to point out the inequities thar exist . Lastly, I do realise , as many of you do, that t.v. demands a" broadway production " , and of course, we provide same, entertaining, for sure talent, ditto, it just leaves the wrong impression . Just one mans opinion .


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PasoDancer said:
Are you guys talking about the one that, IF counted (correctly or not) 1, 2, a-3 (or &3) it's a forward, replace, and quick back and replace?

As a basic, yeah, that's what I dance.

I'm with you, I love hustle. Unfortunately, I can't find many other people that like it and/or dance it. But it can be so much fun, and so...mindless.

It's got a special place in my heart b/c the first time I danced it is the ONLY time I can remember when I was actually in the moment. I've never experienced that, before or since. It was an amazing feeling. It was the second studio social dance I attended, and my teacher asked me to dance. He brushed aside my protests about not knowing it--did I know the timing for the basic? Yes. OK, good--no matter what he did or where he sent me, I was to keep my feet going to that rhythm. One song later, with nothing else in my head other than the music and the dancing and him as my partner, I was hooked.


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I hear what you're saying, and I agree. All "flash" and no substance doesn't do much for me. The dance loses its soul when it focuses on theatrics for the sake of attracting attention. I learned my lesson a loooong time ago when I wanted to do "fancy" steps at a Pro-Am comp (American Rhythm), and was soundly beaten by a couple who did boring, but very very solid, basics. I would much MUCH rather dance well-executed basics than sloppy high-level moves. If my amateur partner gets bored with our steps (which he often does because I swear he has ADHD:shock:), I'll show him something a little more interesting, but I insist that the majority remain basic steps done well. And I *have* placed at the Silver level dancing Bronze steps :)

Sorry to go off topic. Back on topic: break on the "&". Count the rest in numbers, letters, sounds, burps, whatever.
I don't envy anyone the job of being teacher, judge, etc. because when it's at that level, it's not about learning or fun. It's about keeping people happy. We all know that this is nearly impossible, without me waxing Lincolnian.


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Have been teaching for going on 56 yrs ( judging, coaching for nrly 30 ) let me assure you, I derive the greatest of pleasure from the accomplishments of my students past and present.-- secondly, the day my lessons stop being fun for me , as well as my students, gonna hang up those old shoes. I cant speak for others in general, but have several " long term " pro. friends who have a similar approach. So, it raises a good q ; how many of you have teachers / coaches who also see the fun side of things ?. I can think of several world class pro,s I had coaching with ,way back when, that were very funny, not all, but thats also down to personality .Lastly, I know teaching is not everyones ultimate goal, and that being in this for the pleasure ( and pain ) that it gives, is reward enough in its self . ( p.s. any teacher who thinks he cannot learn anymore,needs to realise it is a never ending process )
Ok, thats exactly what I was planning on doing. (mapping counts) I dont know if I can argue with it yet, cause I couldnt remember exactly what was said to think about it. Let me think!
Im not much of a hustle dancer. I cant claim to argue with a pro. So consider this post as asking for a clarification of why!

Ok, for the sake of this, Im gonna make x an downbeat, and y a upbeat. So you hustle music goes:
Awesuming you start on one of the music, and your counting 12&3:

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y
1 2 &3 1 2&3 1 2 &3 1 2&3 1 2 &3 1

As you can see, if the armstyling was on 3, it would alternate between being on the upbeat, and the downbeat. Because hustle is a 3 count dance. (incidentally, I dont know why you would want to accent the upbeat? Isnt hustle danced to music that has no differenct between up and down, cause you are dancing one of dance on both the up and down beat?)

Ok, here is counting &123

x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y
&12 3&1 2 3 &1 2 3&1 2 3 &1 2 3&1

In this case, the armstyling would be on the 1 right? So again, the styling alternates between the upbeat and the downbeat. Exactly the same way, incidentaly.

My point is, I dont see the difference. If two couple were dancing &123 and 12&3, and I hadnt seen them start, would I be able to tell the difference between the two?

Again, I DO NOT KNOW HUSTLE WELL! Like I said before, consider this post as questions wanting to be clarified!


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Yes, arm styling on the 3, but not on the 6. Ie, while we talk "12&3", those actually come in pairs: 1 2 &3 4 5 &6

For example, consider the basic throw-out and bring 'er back in (please forgive me, but I don't remember what the technical terminology is). You start off in closed position (you two form a right angle with his right arm around her back and his left arm is extended directly forward of him holding her right hand close to her waist height.

1 2 &3:
He led her forward (ie, her forward). She stepped out, pivoted 180 degrees, and did the check step at &3. He had moved into her slot (mixing dance metaphors here; sorry) and turned 90 degrees to face her, then did his check-step on the &3 as well.
In addition, at the &3 she did her arm styling on the upbeat.
And I must confess that, as the guy, I also do an arm styling at this same moment, extending my right arm out to the side; it just always seems to be the thing to do.

4 5 :
He leads her towards him and moves back to his basic closed position location. She steps forward, pivots, and returns to closed postion with his arm on her back and her left arm (ie, her styling arm) resting on his shoulder.

They both check-step in closed position. Her styling arm remains on his shoulder because there's nowhere else for it to go.

As I understand the basic rule to be on arm styling, the arm must be free in order for it to be used in styling. If the arm is otherwise occupied, then you cannot style with it.

Mind you, I also do not know hustle at all well. But that is how I remember we had done it.

To modify your counts to reflect the fact that this is a 6-count dance and not a 3-count:
x y .x. y x .y. x y .x. y x .y.
1 2 &3 4 5 &6 1 2 &3 4 5 &6

As you can see, if the armstyling was on 3, it would alternate between being on the upbeat, and the downbeat. Because hustle is a 3 count dance. (incidentally, I dont know why you would want to accent the upbeat? Isnt hustle danced to music that has no differenct between up and down, cause you are dancing one of dance on both the up and down beat?)

Ok, here is counting &123

.x. y x .y. x y .x. y x .y. x y
&1 2 3 &4 5 6 &1 2 3 &4 5 6

Darn! Darn! Darn! Because this is HTML, the formatting we try to impose by adding spaces between the x's and y's got eliminated as those multiple spaces got replaced by single spaces. I will try to re-impose order by inserting punctuation.
oh, shoot! That happened to me too! Alright, excellent, I fully understand now! (like I said, I dont know hustle well... we never counted up to 6 in the class I took, just in sections of three... tahts where i was confused!)

Thanks so much, awesomness!
This board doesn't make it easy, but the font tag should allow everything to be lined up properly - at least for browsers that have the fonts available. (Not quite - leading spaces still get mangled. I wonder why the usual pre or tt tags aren't available).

.x y X y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y
.1 2&3 1 2&3 1 2&3 1 2&3 1 2&3 1 2&3
.1 2&3 4 5&6 1 2&3 4 5&6 1 2&3 4 5&6
&1 2 3&1 2 3&1 2 3&1 2 3&1 2 3&1 2 3
&1 2 3&4 5 6&1 2 3&4 5 6&1 2 3&4 5 6
&1 2 1&2 1 2&1 2 1&2 1 2&1 2 1&2 1 2

Ah, I see it now. Somebody call out if they spot an error here.

The goal is to get the ball change in open position (where the arm styling usually happens) to coincide with an odd beat of music (not because the beat is all that different, but because the melody is).

If you start in closed position, and count &123, then your simple throwout and return[1] is a beat late - the ball change in open position, where the styling happens, falls on an even count. Whoops. If you count 12&3 - meaning that the follower is moving forward immediately, rather than beginning with the ball change in place - then the ball change in open position falls on an odd beat, and the styling matches the melody.

If you were starting in open position, the problem would be reversed - here the &123 count brings the follower back to the ball change on count 7 (odd beat), where the 12&3 count delivers her a beat early.

Furthermore, when patterns with odd numbers of basics come into play (example: a cross body lead in closed position[2] needs only three beats to bring you back to the initial position), the same thing happens. If you used a cross body lead as a sort of starter step, 12&3 starts the follower forward on 4, and her arm styling hits 2 of the next measure; but &123 starts the follower forward on 5, and her arm styling hits 3 of the next measure. An immediate throwout, using 12&3, hits 3 of this measure, but putting a starter step in front of it, you hit 2 of the next measure.

So it ought to be possible to use the odd patterns to jack with this. For instance, when counting 12&3 start with the crossover to put the follower into open position on the "wrong" beat, but keep a 2 hand hold (no styling by the follower, because the arm isn't free); now bring the follower into shadow while freeing the styling arm - that arm styling hits the downbeat. Send her back out, picking up the styling arm - she's in open on the even count, but again the connection restricts her styling. Back to shadow, freeing the styling hand, reverse the shadow[3] while picking up the styling arm, then send her back to open and freeing it: now you've completed the switch from styling in closed to styling in open.

I would expect the follower to be responsible for keeping any arm styling subdued when that arm is free on an even ball change.

Remember, if this seems completely out to lunch: review previous disclaimer.

[1] Six beat pattern, from closed position to open position to closed, no frills. I've no idea how regional the name is.

[2] follower is dancing her usual footwork and rotation; the leader is moving with her to preserve closed position.

[3] sorry, I've no idea what the hustle term for this would be - we're just using three beats to move her across from the right side of the body to the left, while keeping her in front of the leader.


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Dancelf said:
Insert Standard Westie disclaimer here.
I forget, how does that go again? "It don't mean a thing if it ain't West Coast Swing"?

One of the reasons I have a problem correlating hustle counts to the beat is that when the music would start I'd automatically use swing counts to count of the beat in my head. Then I'd follow the music by feel and count off to keep track of where I was in the moves.

Thanks for the analysis.


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Reading the mapping and styling has gotten me even more confused. I sat and listened to a nice slow hustle song in the car yesterday sitting in traffic. And I was able to go back and forth between &123 and 12&3 counts without missing a beat. And I've done the same while dancing hustle because I've heard the argument before. I just get started, then go with how I feel like counting that day. So my question is, if you want to dance to one, and your partner is dancing to the other, as long as you both keep your mouths shut and don't do it out loud, why can't you?
ETA: And how are y'all getting 1,2, or 3 on an upbeat? They're downbeats. Or am I reading wrong?

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