The Hustle Dance Steps

Travolta move from the Hustle

The Hustle dance has many variations. The Saturday Night Fever line dance version is one of the most common done throughout the world. This disco dance has worked its way onto dance floors in disco clubs and even on TV shows like Dancing With the Stars. The following step-by-step guide to the Hustle line dance will have you on the dance floor in virtually no time.

Basic Hustle Dance Steps

The first thing to know about this version is that it is a repeating dance done by solo dancers. That means you don't have to have a partner, or you could have hundreds of them; as long as you all start out facing the same direction, it will look great. You also don't need any special clothing, shoes, or dance floor. All you need is a steady disco beat and you'll be ready to groove.

1. Forward and Back

Start standing with your feet together, hands at your sides. Step back with your right foot, then with your left, then with your right, ending by bringing your feet together again. This is a walking step that makes you end up about three to five feet back from where you started. If you want to add in some jaunty arm movements or wiggle your hips, that's fine, but it's also okay to simply walk backward to the beat of the music.

Next you're going to reverse it, stepping forward with your left foot and doing the same three steps move to the front and bringing your right foot together. You should now be in exactly the same position as when you started.

2. Three-Step Turn and Clap

Now you're going to do another three-step combination, but this time instead of being forward and back you're going to move to the right and then back to the left. Step out to the side with your right foot (just a medium-sized step), pointing the toe out to the side so that your body starts to turn. Let that turn continue by bringing your left foot across and pointing to the back (so that for a moment you are facing to the rear). You can move your right foot behind you then, letting the momentum carry you around, and then finish the three-step turn by clapping your hands up over your right shoulder. Your left foot will come to rest next to your right at the same time.

The next section of the dance reverses the turn, stepping out with the left, rotating your body over three steps and finally bringing your right foot next to your left (in the same spot as you started the dance) with a clap over your left shoulder this time. Some people will embellish the clap on each side with a little point of the left or right foot to the side, but if you're just starting the dance, concentrate on just stepping to the beat and save the fancy stuff for later.

3. Travolta!

Now it's time for the iconic move that forever put John Travolta into disco dance history after the movie Saturday Night Fever.

  1. Step with your right foot out so that your feet are a little more than shoulder-width apart. At the same time, put your left hand on your hip and point your right hand up and to the right in the air. Your body will naturally rock your weight over to the right, and it's ok to emphasize that wiggle a bit, especially in your hips.
  2. Without moving your feet, let your body weight shift over so it's mostly on your left foot, and bring your right pointing hand down diagonally across your body to point down at the floor. Again, this should be a sinuous, smooth move of the whole body. Your left hand stays on your hip.
  3. Rock your body weight back onto the right foot and repeat those two steps again.

4. Roll and Chicken

For the next two moves, you're going to continue that back-and-forth weight shift, letting the roll in your hips turn your body about 45 degrees to the right and left. First you will "roll," which means your forearms are held parallel to the floor, elbows bent, and rotated around each other as if you were rolling up a really long paper towel. This rolling motion goes for two beats as your weight shifts to the right and to the left.

The "chicken" is actually a chest isolation, with your arms moving down to your sides as you push out your sternum. This can be as subtle or as strong as you'd like it to be, as long as it's on the beat. Like the roll, you'll do this for two beats, once to each side.

5. Right-Foot Quarter Turn

The last section of the basic hustle dance step is all about the right foot.

  1. Step forward with the right foot, touching the toe to the floor in front of you without shifting any weight on it.
  2. Step back with the right foot, touching your toe to the floor behind you.
  3. Step out to the side, again touching the floor with the tip of your toe (these are all great chances to show off your legs, your awesome shoes, or otherwise flirt with the people around you).
  4. As you bring your right foot back to the left, let the momentum turn your body a quarter-turn to the left, so that you are now facing 90 degrees counter-clockwise from where you started.

At this point you've completed the basic steps, everyone is facing the same direction, and you're ready to start all over again! The dance simply repeats until whatever song is playing finishes, and it gives people a lot of chances to fool around with their own moves and flirt outrageously with each other.

Hustle on Down

Now that you have step-by-step instructions for this version of the Hustle, it's time to put on some music and try it out. You can take it slow at first, and then try speeding up by following one of the many videos about the Hustle on YouTube. Another way to learn it is just to go out to a club where the Hustle is played and follow along with the rest of the dancers. While you may mess up at first, it's an easy dance to figure out as you go along and rejoin when you recover your footing.

Just remember that the whole point of the Hustle is to have fun with the dance steps and enjoy the simple pleasure of moving together on the dance floor.

The Hustle Dance Steps