If you've been to a wedding in Michigan, a party, or heck, any event at all, you've probably seen or participated in the dance called the "Detroit Hustle." You know the one, usually set to the Stevie Wonder song "My Eyes Don't Cry No More", the dance is one of the surest bets you can find at wedding receptions, next to things like cake and chairs.
For those unaware (really??), the "Detroit Hustle" is a popular line dance involving the whole crowd. Other popular line dances have emerged over the years (like the "Cha Cha Slide" or the "Cupid Shuffle"), but the Hustle remains the most familiar to older and younger guests alike.
But it is not a dance known across the country, well, at least not the version you
are probably used to. You may not have even realized that it is referred to nationally as the "Detroit" Hustle, as many locals just call it the "Hustle."
History. Though nobody is quite sure why, these choreographed line dances seem to take up some level of regional significance as different parts of the country participate in unique customs native to their area. The same dance that we call the "Detroit Hustle" other parts of the country call just "The Hustle" or "The Electric Slide." And even if some call it the same thing, different states have different music they associate with it. Ask any Michigander, and they'll tell you that the "Hustle" song is "My Eyes Don't Cry No More." If you tell that to someone from Chicago or Minnesota, they will look at you like you're strange, telling you that the song is "The Hustle" by Van McCoy or the "Electric Boogie" by Marcia Griffiths.
Local Origin. Does anybody know the origin of the Stevie Wonder song? The obvious guess is our area being the birthplace of Motown Records, and Stevie having been a life long recording artist for Motown since age 11.It's probable that local DJ's just felt the need to put a Motown spin on a classic party dance.
Today. Although the overall popularity of the "Detroit Hustle" has died down since the 90's (some brides I talk to despise this dance!), it is still a crowd pleaser at a majority of weddings. From your DJ's perspective, dances such as this and the Cupid Shuffle are sure-fire ways to get people out on the dance floor. People seem more comfortable dancing in groups, and not having to "bust a move" by themselves is appealing. The DJ then has a packed dance floor, when he transitions into other upbeat songs. Plus, at nearly 7 minutes, it gives the DJ a much needed potty-break...
So at your wedding, ask an out-of-town guess what song the Hustle should be played to, and watch their reaction!
8/28/2018 07:49:01 pm
The Hustle originated in NYC in the 70s - what you’re talking about is the Electric Slide. How ever did that get to be called the Hustle?
9/2/2018 02:04:27 am
Back in the '70s, there were several regional Hustle variants. The New York, L.A., Chicago, and Detroit Hustle come to Mind.
2/1/2020 02:19:02 pm
There are initially two Hustles. The one done to Van McCoy's song in the 70's. and the one some people call the Detroit Hustle (with different dance steps from the original, except for the first grapevine part) that became popular around the late 80's. People in Michigan were used to doing the dance to Stevie Wonder's My Eyes Don't Cry No More. However, the same dance was being done across the rest of the country to The Electric Boogie by Griffiths and called the ElectricElectric Slide. I found this out in person when I traveled to different places during that time. It was the exact same dance.
10/14/2020 11:12:47 pm
Correct on the line dance history however, there is m ore to the Hustle.
7/22/2019 04:44:16 pm
This is how white people party.
2/20/2020 09:55:06 pm
Please let me hustle on in to this Detroit Hustle conversation.
8/6/2022 01:11:29 pm
I used to hustle with BJ, can you tell me where they are doing the Hustle Dance now in Detroit. I said B J because he is the best in the city of Southfield/Detroit.
1/3/2022 03:55:57 pm
Au contraire on the decline. It’s been played at every wedding I’ve been to in the last 25 years.
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Tom Santilli has been in the Detroit wedding industry since 2002, and in that time has established himself as one of the top in his field. His company, Complete Video Solutions , was named as the #1 Best Wedding Videographer in Detroit by local brides and Channel 4 FIVE consecutive years and is currently inducted into TheKnot.com's "Vendor Hall of Fame." He also has won several awards for his wedding production, and is a member of WEVA (Wedding & Event Videographers Association.) As the Detroit Wedding Examiner, he has helped hundreds of brides with their weddings, with a local knowledge not found anywhere else. Being in the industry for so long, he is an expert in all areas of wedding planning, not just videography. He welcomes your questions, article suggestions, or feedback, and he can be reached