Five years, before John Travolta strutted his stuff, in his 3 piece white suit, a young dancer was already doing the "hustle." Her talented group of friends hung at the night clubs creating these early steps. "We invented the dance as we went along."
Carol Famigletti, was one of the early dancers on the scene. Thirty years ago, along with good friend Annette Rivera, they would frequent the hot dance clubs in the city: Roseland, Copa and the Cork & Bottle.
The dance was brand spanking new. At the time, there were no hustle classes to take, self help videos to learn from or hustle dance shows to watch.
Carol's circle of friends, encompassed some of the legends of our dance.
For the next five years, Carol would partner with Danny Llaurado. (Danny's original partner, Linda Rodriques would go on to tour with The Andrea True Connection - "More More More"). Along with Annette and her partner Floyd Chishom, they formed an exciting dance troop. Well known manager/agent, Don DeNatalie took the troop under his wings. These young dancers would begin to travel and perform all over. The Disco craze was just starting to heat up. Floyd and Annette were selected as the lead dancers for the Motion Picture "Roseland." (This trilogy focused on ballroom dancing and exposed the early stages of hustle, featuring a dance contest.)
The dance troop, now known as "The Disco Dance Connection," was booked to perform in Paris. Along with Carol & Danny, Eddie Espinosa with his partner Barbara would tour Paris for a month. Dancing to hot songs like, "Don't Let me be Misunderstood" and "Magic Bird Of Fire," each couple had their own unique style.
The troop would go thru multiple changes. Eddie would soon team up with the beautiful Gina Figueroa and Ricky Quintana and Lee Rofrano came on board.
Each of these teams would eventually represent New York on the celebrated TV show, "Dance Fever."
The Dance Troop was in demand. They would be booked six nights a week at the premier New York Supper Clubs. The shows would feature four couples performing: group numbers, solo spot light dances along with two female singers. In addition to competing in contests, Carol and Danny would dance back up for Pop singer Patrick Hernandez (Born to Be Alive) and perform on weekends at Plato's Retreat.
With so many dance opportunities out there, the troop members would continue to be pulled in different directions. "The amazing Annette Rivera left the troop and Floyd began to partner with Nelly Cotto."
The troop would continue to evolve. Deano 'Dino' Georgio with partner Jean Camaletti joined the troop next.
Like all great things, the end was not far away. "We went to the clubs at midnight and danced till four AM. It was time to move on." I needed to settle down," recalls Carol.
Danny would continue to perform with new partner Maria Torres. "We parted on good terms, I even gave Danny all of my costumes. We had such great times together, memories that I will always cherish," remembers Carol. "Dancing was everything to me, it was a major part of my life."
Since those early days of dancing, Carol helped lay down the ground work for the hustle dancer's of today. She is still best friends with Jean Camaletti and Michael Babbino. "Michael and I have been friends for 30 years, he hung out with us and helped keep us organized, Michael was a doll."
As a school teacher in Long Island, NY, Carol recently celebrated her 19th wedding anniversary. She has a 13 year old daughter, Amanda. It shouldn't surprise you that her daughter has been studying dance for 10 years. "Wow I wonder where she got that from" reflects Carol.
Will Amanda move onto the hustle? Carol is a testament to the dancers of today. With her ingenuity and creativity she was one of the early dancers to help shape our dance. Under her guidance, Amanda maybe the next dancing Diva.