Music has been refereed to as the universal language. The right song can touch your inner soul, regardless of your age, sex - socioeconomic background. Music can raise your spirits and bring hope to a potentially plight. Jenny Costa could relate to all these situations.....music is her life.
When Jenny turned 11 years old, she experienced a fascinating new dance. She was captivated. For the past few years she had been studying classical dances - tap, ballet and jazz, but this was different. Jenny Costa really connected with the music and partner dancing, this was the hustle.
"Gerry taught me some basic steps and I picked up the rest by watching people dance" explains Jenny. Still a preteen, Jenny developed a deep rooted connection for the hustle as well as the music that moved her. The youngest of four girls, Jenny was born and raised in New York City. Her father was an orchestra musician which had a profound impact on her fascination with music. At this young age, this ambitious young lady became an avid collector of vinyl records, which included Latin, disco and R&B classics. Like most kids her age, she began to attend teen, church and school dances, to practice her new found love, the hustle. "Gerry and her partner were awesome. That's how I learned by watching her and her partner practice at my friend's house," recalls Jenny. As the dance bug continued to grow internally, so did her love for the music all around her. By the age of just 12, Jenny was already DJing. She was so enriched by the sound that she was compelled to express her love by playing and mixing the music. She understood that selecting the right song could make - brake that pinnacle point in a movie, that romantic moment - a critical dance routine. At the time, very few women embraced DJing - were able to break thru this male dominated craft. All along, she continued to develop her dance skills and seek out dance partners. "My hustle dance partner, Henry was about 6 feet tall and could do one arm lifts with me, holding me straight over his head", explains Jenny. Their dancing went beyond the traditional steps and patterns, they would execute difficult moves like death drops, dips and various types of sweeps. "My dance partner Eddie was my Latin dance partner. Along with my friend Sandy, we performed dance routines for a Latin band back in the late seventies", shares Jenny. With her partner Eddie, they won many dance competitions, including a round trip to Puerto Rico. All along, Jenny was living a multi faceted life, channeling her artistic energy not only for dancing but for "spinning" the music. She was already making a name for herself and was highly regarded for both her dancing and DJing skills. Jenny was popping up on everyones radar. At just 16 years old, with such tenacity, Jenny mixed music for the original WKTU FM radio station in New York City. Simultaneously, she was being recruited to teach all types of ballroom dancing. Jeff and Jack Shelley approached her at a club in Queens, NY, after she had won a big hustle contest. The Shelley brothers were innovators and the originators of the first chain of dance studios dedicated to teaching the hustle. "They had asked me if I would be interested in helping them break down the hustle so they could teach it at their studio in Queens," details Jenny, " in exchange they would teach me ballroom so I could teach that as well."
Under the direction of the popular Shelly brothers, Jenny began teaching at Dale Dance Studios, The Metropolitan Dance Club, that was located at 87-20 Parsons Blvd. in Jamaica, NY and at the New York Hustle Studio, that was located on Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing. She was able to take multi tasking to a new level, as she attended school full time and managed dual careers, all at once. " It was a win win situation until I started DJing which conflicted with my dancing, I had to eventually bow out of dancing for my DJ career" explains Jenny. "I must admit, dancing was always my first love, but the love of seeing so many dance to the music that I mixed together was so much more gratifying for me", shares Jenny.
Jenny made a critical decision to hang up her dance shoes and take a position behind the scenes as opposed to being front and center dancing. With such a diverse love of music, Jenny has amassed a wide spectrum of collectibles in all forms of music including her favorite artists: Andre Bocelli, James Brown,
P. Diddy, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston and the late - Barry White. "I always felt that dancing gave me the edge in DJing because I could always feel myself out on the dance floor and know what music and mixes made me want to dance", explains Jenny. There at their beginning, Jenny has received platinum albums for her help as a billboard reporter in promoting artists such as Madonna, Jody Watley and Expose. Jenny's hard work and ultimate success has made her a well sought after DJ/mixologist. Her career has given her the opportunity to meet some of the most influential people in the field of entertainment as well as work in Europe, the Caribbean and various states through out the USA. Today, Jenny still adores the music that she grew up with as well as salsa. She still is in love with her craft, and has been working since 1997 at the number one radio station in the country, WKTU in NYC. Her dedication and talent has not gone by unnoticed as she recently made radio industry history by becoming the first ever to win the New York Metro A.I.R. Award for Best Mix Show DJ. New York Governor George Pataki and Sean Puffy Combs were among the honored presenters and guest speakers at the awards dinner. She was commissioned by WKTU to do a midnight mix of current dance music on Diane Prior's "Ladies On the Turntable's Show", along with the Saturday Night Dance Factory, Midday Mix shows along with special event mix shows. Jenny can also be heard on Satellite radio, XM Chrome. As a young girl growing up in NY, Jenny became entranced in the hustle. She went on to excel in the dance and would later teach others. Today, she continues to share her passion for dancing and the music that inspires us all. She will be the featured DJ at the 2008 NY Hustle Congress hosted by Lori Brizzi this Labor Day weekend.