Walter Darian - Hustle / Disco WCS + Salsa


Walter Darian-
by Ron Bess



He served our country.

He then returned home, to New York, and served the dance community.

Darians Dance Studio was legendary.

In 1974, Walter's eyes "bugged out" when he saw the hustle being danced at Roseland. Walter began teaching, what was then called the "American Hustle" at his Brooklyn studio. For the next five years, 1975-1980, he canceled all of the other classes being taught, to accommodate the enormous growth of the hustle.

Registration for classes tripled. Over 90% of his students were now under the age of 35. At its peak, he had over 600 students in one week. If you wanted to hustle, Thursday nights you went to Darians. This was an explosive hustle social that attacked the best dancers. It was affordable, you didn't have to be of drinking age and there wasn't any blinking lights or smoke machine. This was a "dancers" studio. Walter hired DJ Joe, (brother of actor Jack Scalia) and they packed the house.

As an instructor and studio owner, Walter got into the dance world by hanging out at Roseland by night while doing construction work by day. He developed an affinity with dance and was quickly recognized as a top "social dancer." Never one to train students for competitions or shows, Water's niche' was teaching the elements of Social dancing. He studied under Olga and worked for John Phillips of "Phillips Dance Studio" in the mid 50's. In 1965 he took the big step and opened his first dance studio in Benson Hearst. With years of dreams and planning behind him, he prepared for the grand opening. This night, he'll always remember. It turned out to be the same night of the infamous New York City blackout. His Saturday evening "Party Nights" were a big hit. Folks came from all over to dance and be entertained. 300 plus would pack the studio to see performers like The Szonys, or Pierre Dulaine & Yvonne Marceau.

With 50 years in the business, he was honored with a "Life Time Achievement Award," two years ago in Florida at the World Disco Classic Convention.

Still active today, he dances five nights a week with his wife Gloria. He has since sold his studio and retired to Florida. Not able to sit still, he put his exciting career and views into book form. This exciting book "Diary of a Street Dancer" is a must read. The foreword is written by Dance master John Lucchese. The book includes easy to follow dance steps which focuses on how to properly place your feet. ( For book availability, write to Rowenlb22@aol.com for details).


Walter Darian's contributions to the dance world are too many to list, (read his book), but as a young street dancer at the time, I'm thankful he provided us with a wonderful studio to dance the night away, while keeping many kids off the streets and out of harms way.

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