SEATTLE — Hustle dance, which used to be popular in the 70s, is now back to life in Seattle. A former ballroom dancer and principal dancer at Martha Graham, Abdiel Jacobsen — known by their professional name Abdiel — is a big advocate for the dance and its values.
Unlike other couple dances such as ballroom, which sticks with the traditional gendered role of men leading women, Hustle is progressive in accepting gender expression and sexuality.
“In the tradition of the (hustle) dance, men would lead men, women would lead women, women would lead men. In this dance, anything goes," Abdiel explained. "So, that tradition still stands with us today."
During their class, Abdiel encouraged everyone to learn how to lead and follow.
“Not that you have to dance both. If you like staying in one role, that's totally fine,” Abdiel explained. “But just to have the opportunity to experience what it's like to be on the other side, so that way, you can have more empathy for your partner."
Hustle is a partner dance which was created by young Latinx, Black, and Brown teenagers in the South Bronx, New York City, in the early 70s.
"It comes from Salsa, Mambo," Abdiel explained. "And there's also influences of Lindy Hop, Swing Dance."
For Abdiel, hustle dance is about love and respect.
"It's about self-love, self-respect. That energy almost becomes the ethos of the culture. And I think that's why it endures. It's not the steps. It's the energy of the people, the spirit of the people that bring that love, in that respect, and that joy into the dance that connects people."
Hustle dance in Seattle Info:
Abdiel is teaching hustle progressive at the Century Ballroom every other month and hosting a hustle party with an introduction class monthly. You can also check the Century Ballroom and Hustle and Soul Instagram for more hustle classes and social dances in Seattle.