When he enters a night club he doesn't blend in with the scenery, he takes over. Like a human vacuum he consumes and energizes dancers wherever he goes. For over 33 years, this dancing machine has been the life of the dance party with a level of enthusiasm that's unmatched. Bobby 'O' is Mr. Dance.
When Bobby Ossias was 12 years old he began to informally learn various cultural dances including Greek, Israeli and folk. From there, he began to engage in square dancing and the Lindy. Then in 1975, as a full time student attending S.U.N.Y. college, Stonybrook campus, he noticed the girls doing a new dance, it was the hustle. When he returned to his home in Queens, New York, the dance had dove tailed everywhere, as he witnessed people doing the hustle in all the clubs thru out the city. Bobby began to experiment with the dance on his own, "street dancing" and when he returned back to campus. Like a kid in a candy shop, Bobby was hooked. He began to frequent the clubs, hitting them all, from the Island to Manhattan. He would even venture to Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to investigate the competitive dance couples. If there was a contest, Bobby was there: Chaz, the Bijou, Speak Easy, Lemon Tree, Seconds, Butterfields, Elephas, Sting, Monastery, Broadcasters Inn, Enchanted Gardens, Penrods, Ripples, Roseland, Fun House, Electric Circus, New York New York, Boomakow, Ipanema, Casablanca, Copacabana, The Hop, Yakity Yak, Regines, Wednesdays, Adams Apple, Fudgies, Milky Way, Act 111, Jupiters, Metro 700, Poor Peters, Focus, 5 Guys.....
He virtually made dancing into an extra curricular class. Like a school assignment, he did his homework, studying the couples and their routines in efforts to one day compete on that level. "I watched, back then, little Artie Gruich from Elephas, Arte Phillips, Eddie Vega, Billy & Sandra, George Velasquez, Billy Assmus, Derrick & Lilia, Ray Bogard, Floyd & Nellie, Keith Merriwether" , explains Bobby. On his radar were the spectacular ladies of hustle: Diane Nardone, Lisa Nunziella, Maria Torres, Debbie Rosado and Bobbie Petri.
After developing a partnership with Cathy Ciaravino, the young couple would practice diligently and won their first dance contest at the "Lemon Tree" dancing to "Ring My Bell." They would go on to be victorious in nearly 50 dance contests. Together, they were selected to appear on the popular television show "Dance Fever" representing Denver, Colorado, until it was uncovered that they were professionals and subsequently disqualified. As a college student, the cash prizes came in handy but Bobby was very proud of the other prizes bestowed on them, including trips, trophies and champaign. Even if they didn't win, they participated in all the big contests and typically were top contenders. The success of competing opened more doors and the formation of his own dance troop, "Perpetual Motion". Bobby was quick to learn that in the world of competitions there is no such thing as "a sure thing" but doing shows created steady cash flow. Observing the great success of other dance troops, Bobby started booking shows and choreographing group numbers. He recognized the void and capitalized on the huge opportunity and demand for dance acts. With a turbo charged approach he would train and develop many dance partners including, Donna Bechelle, Diane Betancourt and Karen Weissner. They would take first place honors at many of the club dance contests as well as performing. Bobby raised his stock when he partnered with Bernadette Rodriguez as they would win many contests and appear on the television show "Sabado Gigante". Bobby brought excitement and drama into his routines delivering multiple dimensions with his unbound energy. Always with a fall back plan, Bobby covered himself with dance under-studies when he was in a pinch. He partnered with some of the hottest dancers on the Island, including Judy Van Dyke, Yvette Rivera, Marianne Gonzalez, Madeline Ossias, Norma Rivera - Varrichio and Lisa "sparkles" Paternoster. These partnerships led to performances on cruise ships, shows in the Catskills, taking part in the Gloria Gaynor feature "Spinning The Story," VH1 documentary tribute to John Travolta, competing at hotel/casino Paris in Las Vegas and opening for singing acts like France Joli and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. But more important then just the competitions and performances were the friendships he fostered and nurtured in the dance community. All along, Bobby has worked full time outside of the dance world. He is most proud of his accomplishments working for charities such as "Do It Up America". Performing at nursing homes, churches, homeless shelters, teaching etc.. With the success of his troop gave rise to another production as he splintered off with Keith Harrison developing "Do It Up Studios" and "Rhythm Force" which included popular DJ Johnny "V". Along with Keith, Bobby would co-host a cable TV show called "Do The Hustle" and would perform at Shea Stadium.
Over his on-going career, Bobby has worked, competed, and trained with the biggest names in hustle and theater arts. Bobby "O" knows everyone. He makes it a point to befriend everyone from the bounces to DJ's and even the club owners. Now residing in Tampa, Florida, along with his dancing wife Madeleen and their 12 year old son Julian, Bobby has undertaken the challenge of growing the hustle in his new home town. He taught for two years at Swing City, in Tampa and is the co-founder of the dance troupe Kamio - Partners. "This is a dance ensemble composed of adults, and children with a variety of dances ranging from ballroom, country, hip/hop and ,jazz", explains Bobby. Currently, he is teaching hustle at "New York, New York, in Clearwater, Florida on Friday nights. He is also a distinguished board member of the "Hustle Hall Of Fame", lending his years of experience as a dance historian.
Bobby is the real deal when it comes to transforming a small tea party into a full blown dance event. His drive, determination and encouragement are legendary in the hustle scene. Nic named one of the "Long Island Bad Boys", Bobby has the gifted ability to turn a dull day into a celebration. With a personal touch towards life, he is the Oprah Winfry of hustle - compassionate, talented and creative, all rolled up into one.
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