Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
SPOTLIGHT:
DANCESPOTS
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com iPad Edition

New!
Read ExploreDance.com on your iPad!
Only $0.99 per issue! No ads!
www.exploredance.com/subscribe.htm
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Web
Other Search Options
Diana De Rosa
DanceSpots
Hustle
Sambuca Nightclub
United States
New York
Westbury, NY
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com Kickstarter Campaign

The ExploreDance.com Kickstarter campaign is live! Please consider backing our campaign to help us expand our coverage of dance.
www.kickstarter.com/projects/1306220552/exploredancecom
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ** **
exploredance.com

Hustle Tuesdays – Savor The Memories

by Diana De Rosa
June 2, 2009
Sambuca Nightclub
272 Post Ave.
Westbury, NY 11590
516-876-0393
When I am talking to friends who don't dance but ask me what I enjoy doing the most, the first words out of my mouth are that I love to hustle. Right away they are thinking Las Vegas or Atlantic City but to me doing the hustle is all about balance, accuracy, speed and fun.

I looked on the internet to research hustle dancing. Wikipedia defines it this way: "The Hustle is a catchall name for several disco dances which were extremely popular in the 1970s. Today it mostly refers to a unique partner dance done in ballrooms and nightclubs. It has some features in common with swing dance. In the 1970s there was also a line dance called the Hustle — which is regaining popularity as people throw '70s theme parties or schools have '70s dance performances. Modern partner hustle is sometimes referred to as New York Hustle."

Wisegeek.com said this about the dance: "The partner dance incorporates turns, flips, lifts, side outs, where the male partner brings his partner to the side of him, usually through a turn. There are complicated arm movements, where the couples arms are entwined or over their heads."

The Movie "Saturday Night Fever" also shows both line and partner dancing and that movie certainly helped to get the dance out in the clubs.

While there are many places where you can go to do the hustle, nowadays when I think of the hustle right away Hustle Tuesday is what comes to mind because here's where a disconnected group of dancers all unite. Hustle Tuesdays began 12 years ago and was the vision of both host Doreen of Doreen Singles and Robin Amante.

Robin recalls Hustle Tuesdays first starting at the Savoy dance club in the Huntington Hilton. After that closed the hustle dancers wanted to find a new place to gather. Through someone's suggestion Robin uncovered the Long Shore Brewery, a restaurant with a dance floor and bar ideal for the hustle crowd. That was in February of 1997.

Over the years the name of the restaurant/brewery changed and there were times that for short stretches the hustle dancers had to find a new home, but it always went back to what eventually was renamed the International Buffet (IBBG).

Yet in October of 2008 when that location no longer proved feasible for either the restaurant owners or the hustlers it was time to find a new home. Little did they know at the time that their new location would be just around the corner. After a few trial places Tuesday hustlers settled on a club called Sambuca in Westbury where it now has called home for the past few months. The venue is ideally located at 272 Post Avenue.

"Location is very important to our group and everyone seems happy with the new venue," commented Doreen, who has weathered many a storm over the years. So much so that Doreen can pretty much predict what kind of a crowd she will have on any given Tuesday based on the weather, the featured attraction of the night (they have lots of birthday celebrations), what holidays happened or are going to happen and what other dance events are taking place within the same timeframe.

ROBERT LAWRENCE AND ROSETTA VARUOLA PERFORMANCE

Special happenings are just a part of Hustle Tuesdays whether it's time to celebrate some birthdays, support a worthy cause, watch a new routine or honor an anniversary.

While birthdays always seem to be a draw, choreographed performances are a big part of the hustle scene. Recently Robert Lawrence and Rosetta Varuola were preparing to compete in Miami and so performing in front of an audience of your friends is always a good practice. So, we watched as they did a hot number to music by Justin Timberlake and their remix Love Stoned.

"The original choreography was done by Artie Phillips and was enhanced and redone by Donna DeSimone," commented Robert. "Our dance includes hustle moves, tricks (cute moves to enhance the visual effects) and one lift. It's Street Hustle done ballroom style," commented Robert.

"The performance is about a couple that meets at a club," continued Rosetta. "The man is aggressive and the woman snubs him and then they flirt and at the end they find their connection. It connects to the music we perform to.

"I like the death sweep at the end and the lift in the middle because the shift of the music makes you want to add something unique," commented Rosetta.

"The most difficult part was understanding the choreography – moves, steps, body dynamics – but once you understand the counts and the moves then it all blends," she added. "We've been working on this routine for a year and have performed it twice and competed eight times. We placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd at different competitions. We've been competing for five years now."

That success continued when they competed in Miami where they took more first place ribbons.

I've known Robert since we both started to learn to dance the hustle and he is one of my favorite people to dance with. He adds a unique free spirit to his dancing that allows the dance to take on a new dimension.

We Need to Do Our Own Hustle PR and Welcome the Newbies

While dancing is always high on everyone's check-off list, it's also the memories we've forged over the years and the friendships that make Hustle Tuesdays so special. As we get older and want to ensure that the younger generation continues to enjoy the dance it's time to take a closer look at how that best can be done.

Rick Aubain has been enjoying Tuesday nights for the past five years. "People are always incredibly friendly," he commented. Rick really enjoys coming out on Tuesday nights but over the years he's noticed some things we all have commented on at some point or another. And this has nothing to do with Hustle Tuesdays but other places as well.

"There always has seemed like there is this divide," commented Rick and he wasn't saying this negatively but rather as an observation that we all should learn from. "At IBBG because the DJ was near the bar there were people that hung out strictly by the DJ and that caused the better dancers not to mix as much with the newbies. At Sambuca the DJ is opposite so it helps for the mix to be more integrated."

Rick continued noting his preferences in general for any place he visits. "I like it when there is a little more of a mix of music. It could be 70% whatever the main dance is but another 25% sprinkled throughout the night."

One thing I've always noticed as I've climbed the ladder from a beginner to a more advanced hustle dancer is the difficulty for those that are new to the dance. Rick acknowledged that this can be a problem.

"It's hard to get people to mingle and sometimes it helps when the more experienced dancers approach the newer people because they are probably more intimidated and afraid to approach anyone especially if they see all the better dancers hanging together. It's intimidating and takes away from that friendly atmosphere unless you know people. So a stranger coming in might find it hard."

I know we all can sometimes get caught up in that togetherness mentality and it's important for us to think about when we were just learning the dance and what we would have appreciated. It's even more important nowadays when hustle dancing is getting less popular with the younger generation. It's up to us to find out what will inspire the younger set to love the dance as much as those of us who have been dancing it for a long time.

Rick offered more suggestions and started to compare dances. "With different styles of dancing (especially ballroom) there is always a break from song to song so it is easier to stop but since hustle dancing just blends from one song to the next you almost feel guilty to stop dancing. With other songs they end and it is easier to move to a different dancer. It's sometimes hard to mingle because everything never stops."

I've actually thought about that myself, especially when I started going to events that featured a wide assortment of dances. It surprised me to see how quickly I was moving from partner to partner doing a hustle, rumba, west coast swing, cha cha and more because the songs were short.

That works when you are doing so many different dances but when most of the dances are hustle you get caught up in those old classics. Yet, maybe we need to create shorter versions of the music because it might inspire more of the advanced dancers to mix and mingle with the newer dancers.

Some thought should be given to creating some type of break between songs. And while there are mixed opinions about what speed the songs should be played at in my opinion when you feel like you are just racing through the dance and can't add a bit of styling then the music is too fast. "It is easier to lead a person when a song is slow," added Rick, "because when the songs are on hyper drive that's when people start getting thrown around."

Rick and I aren't the only ones that recognize the importance of making sure everyone who comes out goes home having enjoyed a night of dancing. We all need to take the attitude that if you see someone sitting down, ask them to dance even if they are a stranger."

Yet that willingness to dance with newer dancers sometimes comes with a price and so there are lessons to be learned from both parties. "That said, if those who are new to hustle dancing want people to ask them to dance they need to learn the basics," commented Rick.

One of the big mistakes beginner dancers make is doing lots of moves poorly rather than fewer moves well. I'd rather dance with a beginner dancer who knows less moves but allows their partner to finish the step before they lead them into the next step. I've had my arm yanked too many times by someone who couldn't do the basics well that sometimes it's hard to follow even my own advice to dance with someone who is just beginning.

Memories and More

Chris Donofrio has been part of the hustle scene forever.

"I first was introduced to disco dancing in 1976 when I was 21," explained Chris. "My friend Joey took me to a place called Speakeasy on Long Island from then on it's been the worst thing that happened to me (he said facetiously). I learned how to dance and it was something I adapted to very quickly."

Chris, who is single (never married and no kids), blames it on "all the years of being in the clubs. I've been a wandering soul looking for the perfect soulmate, going to club after club for decade after decade," he jokingly added. Maybe Sambuca will be where Chris meets his new love.

While Chris enjoys a joke here and there it is the friends that bring him to Hustle Tuesdays. And he especially enjoys Sambuca's large dance floor, Chris the DJ and the lighting. But as Chris admits, "It is the people that inspire me to come out on Tuesday nights. I've known these people for 19 years and they are good people. It's great to have friendships that have lasted this long as a result of my love for music."

Chris also likes the added advantage of dancing the night away. "It keeps you in good shape and keeps your mind clear. I love it," he concluded.

DJ Chris Feels The Beat

Chris Dalamakis has been the DJ for Hustle Tuesdays for eight of the years that it's been in existence and he has a unique way of viewing the crowd from the DJ booth.

Chris like many others, wanted to talk candidly about Tuesday night hustles. "It is important that we stick together," he commented. "The hustle crowd needs some thought put into how we are going to make it grow and splintering it will only hurt that progress.

"Over the years I've seen a crowd that is very together. We've lost a lot of people because they moved or health problems but the key is that we all stick together. If we need fresh ideas we need to do it amongst ourselves."

Chris was verbalizing things that have been verbalized often but we need to be reminded that what we do guides the future of the dance.

"I've always tried to be open to everybody and I'm happy to play their requests," he continued. "Help me help you enjoy the time you spend here."

Chris was observing what so many of us are concerned about. How do we keep the dance alive? Looking around the room it's clear that most of the people who come to Hustle Tuesdays are older veteran dancers and as a group we need to inspire younger dancers to come because they will enjoy it.

"Obviously at this age group we have to think about simply spreading the word and getting people to come out," continued Chris. "It's not just a single night of dancing but rather a social gathering; a time to dance, say hi to old friends and meet new ones. Coming here helps keep our friendships alive. I love all of these people. I consider them my friends," he concluded.

Old Friends Come Back

Jack Pezzano is undoubtedly one of the best hustle dancers around and to dance with him is pure rhythm . We don't see Jack that much these days but recently he decided it was time to come back to see all his friends. "I try to get out as much as I can but the weak economy is making me work more than dance," he admitted.

Jack took some time to chat with me and had this to say. "By participating in the hustle every Tuesday night we keep alive hustle dancing/couple dancing as opposed to freestyle where there is no true connection. Feeling the music together by leading and following is poetic in nature."

Jack has been dancing for 30 years now. "I started because it was a great way to meet women and it sort of worked," he quipped. "Well actually it did work out."

Jack started out dancing by learning from the best. "Hustle champions taught me and that inspired me to go on to learn ballroom and eventually I became a teacher and competed. Nowadays social dancing is where the fun is for me, no longer is it in the competition arena."

These days Jack is a professional photographer who shoots a lot of marathons in the summer and school kids the other months.

His time spent dancing is all about having fun. "Social dancing allows you the opportunity to share your love of music and dance while at the same time forging new friendships while spending time with so many of the acquaintances you've made over the years," he concluded.

It's All About Dancing and Friendship

There seemed to be a predominant theme rising to the top of many of the conversations I was having and Susan Cohen was no exception.

"Dancing has introduced me to people who I never would have met or even have been in the same room with and yet through the hustle we have all banded together. When you think about it, it's pretty remarkable how people from all walks of life came together. So much so that we've even held benefits, fundraisers and parties for people who have been sick, having surgery or lost their parent or child. Over the years Tuesday nights have become a very large part of my life," explained Susan.

"I love to dance – I love the music," continued Susan who offered an anecdote of just one time when it helped her through some difficulty. "I recall one night my daughter had a car accident on a Tuesday. Even though it ended up that she was okay I was still feeling stressed - even after I knew she was okay. So, I decided to go dancing. By the time I got to the club my teeth were so clenched I could hardly walk through the door but once I entered and heard a song it inspired me to dance and suddenly I felt better. Dancing makes life wonderful and the people who like dancing are nice people."

Sambuca

Sambuca has been owned by Robert Montagnese for the past ten years. Besides Hustle Tuesdays he also offers an array of other dance nights. Friday nights is a mix of Latin, R&B and Hip Hop. Saturday night they focus on Latin (21 and Over). Every third Saturday of the month features a Salsa Social from 7:00 to 11:00 with a free Salsa dance lesson from 7:00-8:00. Included in the evening is a free buffet and a Salsa Performance by instructor Alfred Pena, who also gives lessons on the other Saturdays.

On Thursday nights starting the second week of June Robert is introducing a House music night every Thursday.

"I like to introduce different dance demographics," commented Robert. "We also do parties, Sweet Sixteens, Bar Mitzvahs or any other kinds of private parties. So including Hustle Tuesdays was another great addition."

For more information about Sambuca and any upcoming events call 516-876-0393 or visit the web site www.clubsambuca.com or email clubsambuca@gmail.com

So there you have. Just a little taste of what Hustle Tuesdays are all about. Whether you are new to the dance or have been coming for years doesn't really matter. Unlike first impressions, the Hustle Tuesday people have a heart and soul and will welcome you into their family. Newcomers are always welcome and if you find yourself sitting on the sidelines just put on your best smile, go up to someone and ask them to dance.
Chris Dalamakis

Chris Dalamakis

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Chris Donofrio

Chris Donofrio

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Chris Donofrio and Sandra

Chris Donofrio and Sandra

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Cynthia and Marco

Cynthia and Marco

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Hustle

Hustle

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Hustle

Hustle

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Hustle

Hustle

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Hustle

Hustle

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Hustle

Hustle

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Hustle

Hustle

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Danny, Sal Riccio, Cynthia and Lena

Danny, Sal Riccio, Cynthia and Lena

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Donnie Shields

Donnie Shields

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Doreen, Robert Montagnese (owner of Sambuca) and Robin Amante

Doreen, Robert Montagnese (owner of Sambuca) and Robin Amante

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Frank Pelicci and Chris Dalamakis

Frank Pelicci and Chris Dalamakis

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Jackie Noritto

Jackie Noritto

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Laura Eber and Anthony Lisotto

Laura Eber and Anthony Lisotto

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Lena Spurdis and Marco Hernandez

Lena Spurdis and Marco Hernandez

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Louie Crespo, Diana Ciamarra and Sal Riccio

Louie Crespo, Diana Ciamarra and Sal Riccio

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Nel Cappadona, Marta Hogan and Susan Bloom

Nel Cappadona, Marta Hogan and Susan Bloom

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Richard Klinger

Richard Klinger

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Rita and Anthony Lisotto

Rita and Anthony Lisotto

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Rita, Rick Aubain and Laura Eber

Rita, Rick Aubain and Laura Eber

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Robert and Rosetta

Robert and Rosetta

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Robert and Rosetta

Robert and Rosetta

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Robert and Rosetta

Robert and Rosetta

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Sal Riccio

Sal Riccio

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa


Susan Cohen

Susan Cohen

Photo © & courtesy of Diana De Rosa

ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
* **** ****


ExploreDance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ******
exploredance.com


home || view our calendar || the store || copyright information || join our mailing list || mission statement
Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health