Dance Resource

Hustle Technique - 6 Count

The Slot

Hustle is danced in the slot. The follower is normally traveling through the slot back and forth. The leader can be in the slot parallel to the follower, in the middle of the slot perpendicular to the slot, or diagonally in the slot.

The leader normally moves around the follower as the follower traverses the slot back and forth. This means that when the partners are in the cross body position, the follower is slightly in front of the leader so that the follower can walk in front of the leader to the other end of the slot.


Closed Prep

Optional starting position. Partners are facing each other, both are perpendicular to the slot, in the middle of the slot. Leader's weight is on LF, follower's weight is on RF. The first step is the prep step: leader shifts weight to RF, follower shifts weight to LF and rotates right 90d to be in the slot, at which point the partners are in closed position.


Follower is at one of the ends of the slot facing the other end of the slot. Leader is in the middle of the slot perpendicular to the follower.

Open / Face To Face Open

Partners are facing each other and are facing the direction of the slot.

Side By Side Open

Partners are facing the same direction, leader is left of the follower, connection is leader's RH to follower's LH.

In this position, there is normally a good distance between the partners. However the leader should still have a bend in right elbow to stop the follower prior to full right arm extension, in order to be able to lead the back rock which requires him to extend right arm further. The follower should similarly not be fully extended with her left arm.

Side By Side Catch

This is a similar position to side by side open, but the leader has his RH on follower's back. This connection requires that the leader and follower are very close together, as opposed to side by side open where there may be significant difference between the partners. Side by side catch can be attained out of cross body lead with the leader overrotating left an additional 90d.


Follower in front of leader and offset right, connection is leader's LH to follower's LH. Leader's RH connection is optional. Lead is from LH.


Follower in front of leader offset either left or right, connection is leader's LH to follower's LH and leader's RH to follower's RH. Additional connection points can be leader's left/right wrists to follower's shoulders, these are optional but often helpful.

Sweetheart with follower on the right side is very similar to shadow, the difference is in shadow connection and lead is with LH primarily or exclusively while in sweetheart both hands are used.


Hustle is not considered part of American Rhythm family, it is between smooth and rhythm is posture and connection.

LH hold can vary in height from waist to shoulder.

Follower's left elbow should be up like in smooth, rather than down like in rhythm.


Legs in hustle should be straight. In particular cuban motion is not appropriate in hustle.

Basic - Leader

In both open and closed basics, leader should be creating a stretch on (a-1). There are three step possibilities for the leader on (a):

  • Rock;
  • Point;
  • Fake.

The fake is when the leader does nothing on (a) and just steps on (1) instead of stepping on both (a) and (1). This is used to change feet during a figure.

The rock uses a partial weight transfer due to the timing - it only takes half a count rather than a full count that a rock step would normally take. Rocks can be back, forward or to the side.

The point does not involve weight transfer. Points are usually to the side though can be diagonal in some figures. For example, a back rock would be replaced with a side point.

When doing either rock or point, the leader needs to be creating stretch to catch the follower and change her direction smoothly. The stretch is easier to create with the rock as there is a weight change away from the follower, but it still must be present if the leader elects to point instead of rocking. One way to create a stretch without weight transfer in closed position is to open RH which works in conjunction with the follower opening on her (a-1) - rotating RH clockwise along the vertical axis, while maintaining both wrist and finger connection with the follower's back, creates the stretch desired. This is hard to execute if the follower does not open on (a-1) and instead is square or perpendicular to the leader.

When doing a point in open position, the stretch can be created by the leader absorbing the follower's movement into his arms, thus extending the arms over a longer period of time than he would if he was doing a rock.

Basic - Follower

Follower should not be moving back on "and" count. This means RF can step just back of LF (LF heel to RF toe) but not really further back. The 1 count step should be a strong forward step. The result of "a-1" should be the follower moving forward only.

Turns - Leading

When LH or RH goes up for the leader to indicate a turn, the hand should be outside leader's body and move away from the body, as opposed to being between leader's shoulders and staying there for the follower's turn.

Turns - Following

In order to not walk away from the leader in longer turn sequences like the 1.5 turns, feet should be placed fairly closely during the turn steps.

For example, in a 1.5 turn left, LF's placement on 3 count should be close to where RF was on 2 count. Taking a normal sized step forward on the 3 count is too far.

(Travel is done on 1 and 2 counts, 3 count is rotational only, "a" count is almost in place, then 1 count travels in the opposite direction.)

The follower should keep her hands where the leader left them through a turn. For example, if the leader places the follower's hand on his waist, the follower should continue tracing leader's waist until leader picks up the hand.

Similarly, leader may place the follower's hand in the hammerlock position and the follower should keep her hand there. If the follower is executing several consecutive turns, the leader may pass the follower's hand in hammerlock position one or more times until the leader chooses to engage the follower's hand. When the follower feels the leader engaging her hand (via curled fingers), she should respond by establishing a positive connection with the leader with the engaged hand.

If the leader releases the follower completely, the follower should perform at least two turns in the linear and rotational direction which was led. The two turn minimum is important because otherwise the follower is likely to stop herself while the leader expects her to continue turning, and the follower may stop facing away from the leader where the leader cannot pick her up with e.g. RH on follower's waist/back connection.

Hand Hold Transitions

Many figures which are meant to start in handshake hold can begin with LH hold, with leader executing volleyball on (a-1) to change hands to handshake.