Over the past two years, dance MFA candidate Abdiel Jacobsen, right, has brought their love of hustle to the UW and transformed their classroom into a club for a course titled “Special Topics in Street and Club Dance.” Hustle developed in the Black and Latino communities of the South Bronx in the early 1970s, Jacobsen says. It came from dance traditions like mambo and Lindy that were rooted in the African diaspora. It also broke the norms of partner dancing by empowering women and queer people. “It is so dynamic, it is so fierce, and there are so many characters and so much originality,” Jacobsen says. By bringing dancers of all levels of experience to interact on the dance floor, Jacobsen wants to study and preserve the dance as well as continue breaking norms. hey noted that in the Eurocentric dance classroom, “there’s a ballet barre and a grand piano … but why isn’t there a disco ball?” Jacobsen graduates in June and will start as an assistant professor at Scripps College in January.
“It is so dynamic, it is so fierce, and there are so many characters and so much originality.”