Slip on your flares and polish off those platforms- it’s time to do the Hustle! Thanks in part to John Travolta and the dulcet tones of the Bee Gees, disco dancing took off in the 1970s and has been a permanent fixture on many a strobe-filled dancefloor ever since.
Disco dancing incorporates elements adapted from various Latin dances, including the samba, tango, mambo and cha-cha. However, disco music usually has a steady beat and many basic moves are original to the style, including:
Disco can be traced back to swing and modern jazz dancing, favours choreographed combinations of moves over improvisation and is largely a solo style. If a partner is involved, the dancers often mirror each other or perform complimentary moves whilst barely touching and there is rarely any dead air (silent or track-change moments). This continuous stream of music means dancers are always moving and striving to create a flow from one energetic move to the next.
The most well known type of disco dancing is probably the mambo-based Hustle. Danced in pairs or sometimes in lines, the Hustle is classed as a Latin/Ballroom competition dance and has its own set of basic moves which involve more spins and specific holds than regular disco dancing. Hustle music has three beats to every bar, but four steps are taken during each bar (2 x 1 beat steps and 2x half beat, faster steps), giving it a smooth, swaying feel.
For beginners to Hustle or general, more freestyle disco, the best tempo range for music is 100 to 125 beats per minute.
If you are looking for a high energy, fun dance class that features driving beats and uplifting melodies, then disco may be for you. If your prefer a more technical approach to dance, but still enjoy the dance floor hits of the 70s, then why not give the Hustle a try?
If you have previous experience with jazz and modern dance styles, you may find it a little easier to get into disco dancing than beginners, but classes are available that cater to every skill set and age group. As with any physical exercise, if you have serious, long term cardiovascular problems or mobility issues, then check with your doctor before throwing yourself into periods of sustained aerobic exercise. Oh, and don’t worry - the head-to-toe polyester look is optional.
Although mirror balls are now firmly associated with disco dancefloors, they were first widely used in the 1920s.