Kathy Young - Hustle / Disco WCS + Salsa

Kathy Young -
by Ron Bess

Disco was taking off and nobody wanted to be left behind. At a very young age, her older sister slipped her into her first Discotheque, "Foxes", in Jersey City, New Jersey. The music, the lights and beautiful dancers overwhelmed her. She was hooked and now would focus on becoming one of the premier dancers. The year was 1977, 'Saturday Night Fever' was taking the country by storm and Kathy Young was hooked on hustle. "Dancing has always been a dream for me.  My family is large, 4 girls, 4 boys, and not enough family money for dance lessons," but this didn't discourage her. A huge inspiration came from her mother. "My mother loved ballroom dancing and would take any opportunity to escort me, when I was younger, to dance halls and studios".  In Jersey City, the Imperial Ballroom was a hot spot that together they would frequent on a regular basis.  My mother inspired me to continue my education, and follow my dreams.  Kathy now searched out other dance clubs and studios to learn the hustle. " Where there was the hustle, I was there." recalls Kathy. Like most beginners, finding someone to dance with you can be a challenge, but Kathy was persistent. She didn't know the dance that well but that did not deter her. She would practice by herself at home to perfect her steps and got aid from her sister. "At first, no one would dance with me". Kathy was on a mission to master the hustle. She was open minded and invited constructive input. One night when dancing at a social she met Nellie & Julio Diaz. "Nellie was magnetic. She was very friendly and funny" explains Kathy. "She approached me and complimented my dancing.  Kathy was taken back. "ME, she said I had one problem.  I danced like a white girl and I needed to move my hips with a latin attitude" recalls Kathy. From that point on, they became best friends. Kathy was addicted to the hustle. 

Another mentor for Kathy was the incredible Melvin Currry. Considered by many to follow better then anyone else on planet hustle. Melvin and Kathy developed a close friendship. He helped guide her as a friend, teacher and partner. " Melvin was very instrumental in giving me a talent that took me places I never would have expected."  Melvin also introduced her to other talented dancers including David Padilla. David, a well known hustle dance pioneer was recognized for his people dynamics, always inviting new dancers into the circle. David was tall, eye catching on the dance floor.  Kathy was now getting noticed. Her skills were sharpening and turning heads. One head that flipped was that of Lucas Jaime. There was immediate chemistry, on and off the dance floor for these two. They developed a solid dance relationship that would last for nearly five years. "We were best friends, dance partners, and we had a common goal - Dancing".  Together, they became an amazing dance team. Comparable to Barbie & Ken on the dance floor, they had a unique, captivating appearance that consumed viewers.  They were statuesque with impeccable form, lines and execution. They became top competitors in the field of hustle. Whether it was the New York Playboy Classic, USBCs, Zachary's or the Harvest Moon Ball, they were there competing.  "We traveled, danced, met many interesting people, places, and competed in many competitions." All along, Kathy was a full time student attended college while becoming well known in the hustle world and other circles, outside of dancing.  Kathy not only caught eyes in the hustle circuit but was in the Miss New Jersey Beauty Pageant. She was a Miss Clauddagh, winning a trip to Ireland, Miss Colleen, and the first Garden State Bowl Queen. Her success in the pageants gave her the opportunity to win scholarship money to help support her college tuition.  

In efforts to continue to excel in the hustle and  strengthen her skills in other dances, Kathy taught at Arthur Murray's in Yonkers and White Plains for two years. She kept a rigorous schedule teaching dance at night while working a full time job during the day.

Looking back, Kathy reflects on one her most memorable competitions which was the Harvest Moon Ball held at Roseland in Manhattan. " A place I could have only dreamed of, became a dream come true" she shares. The hustle also gave her the chance to be a member of a dance troop in Clifton and in 1999 to appear in the motion picture 'Summer of Sam'. They needed top dancers from the disco era and she was a shoe in.

Over the years, Ralph Lew, Pierre Dulaine and many of her fellow dancers and DJ's had given her guidance, a positive influence and motivation, but at the top of Kathy's list is her Mother...
She was the one that gave her the inspiration to dream.

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