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!
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 5 consecutive years, 2010-2014, and was 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