When ground breaking musicians like the Rolling Stones and The Beatles rose in the 60's, they didn't attend any Rock & Roll Universities. They took creative license as they developed a new sound. Although the hustle dance took sail in the early 70s' it was still in its infancy. The Hustle is the youngest new social dance, only a mere 30 years old. Dance studios began to teach the basics and fundamentals in the mid 70's but the real hustle laboratory took place on the dance floor. One of the leaders of this dance study was a kind gentlemen, William Everett, known to most of us as Butchie.
During the disco era, the hustle dance was humming along gaining more respect in the Social Ballroom division. Although it started off as a street dance it began to take shape..... becoming polished like a fine stone. One extraordinary dancer that helped elevate the dance was Butchie. Whether he was leading or following he was a sight to behold. He did both, (lead and follow) with precision and finesse. The typical club or studio was packed with hustle dancers... the common ritual was to start a circle. Those forming the circle protected the dancers inside from being bumped and/or to prevent someone from walking thru and disrupting the dance. Butchie attracted the biggest circles. With all eyes on him, Butchie was in his element. His confidence was an A+, he was very creative and is credited with delivering many of the steps still used today. Combining hand & arm movements, facial expressions, foot work and lighting fast spins....he commanded your attention.
Born in Elmhurst Queens, NY, this gentlemen did it all on the dancefloor.
Alexis Dance Studio, 86th Street & Broadway, owned Monday nights. As you entered this popular dance spot, Hy Landa would greet you at the door. This was the nonpartisan studio where the finest came to dance: Melvin Scurry, Debbie Ferro, Diane Nardone, Arte Phillips, Kenny Gonzalez, Perico, Hector Berrios, Ray Bogart, Roma Moon, Keith Merriwether, Maria Torres, Scott Nurse, Ralph Lew, George Velazquez, Julio & Nelly Diaz, Kelvin Roach, Derrick Allen, Miquel Marrero, Tony & Renee....., Bobby O remembers Hy Landa telling him, 'you got to see this guy dance', the amazement of watching Butchie in action. "Along with the great Eddie Vega it was Butchie that was the trend setter, gliding around the floor...taking the uncorniness out of the hustle." Even the ladies watched in envy.
During the summer, dancers would gather in Linden Street Park. The local Disc Jockeys would hook up their equipment to the light posts and spin till midnight. There was a talented group of hustle dancers that ruled Bushwick, Brooklyn, recalls Sammy Marti. At the center of the group was a young Butchie. His early styling influenced many other greats.... like a local neighbor from Queens, Arte Phillips. "There was no one else like him." recalls Arte. "He was dancing back in 1974, he came before most the others." Butchie saw Arte and took him under his wings. He gave Arte direction and helped him develop his dancing.
From here the clubs were the next dance stop. The 'after party' on Monday nights was at the Ice Palace, 57th street, for the weekly dance contest. "He loved dancing very much, he was all about floor work" reminisces long time friend David Padilla. "Butchie knew how to execute lifts but he always preferred floor work."
Dancing 7 nights a week they hung out at Ipenema, Promoters in Brooklyn, Disco Inferno and the Limelight in the village...."I remember the first person to do the grapevine into the hop, if I'm correct he invented that routine, he had incredible hand work, his floor work was no joke either."
The Tour De France of Hustle was the Harvest Moonball Championships. This was an annual fall competition held by the American Ballroom Association, which attracted dancers from all over the tri state area. It was so big, it was held in the Felt Forum, within the Madison Square Garden. Preliminaries and qualifications took place weeks prior at large ballrooms like Roseland.
In 1981, Butchie and Carmen Barba qualified for the Harvest beating out dozens of other teams. First place honors that year went to Eddy Vega & Nellie Cotta. Butchie would return the next year to qualify and move on to the final show down in the Moonball with another dance partner, Migdallia Paez, to give it another shot.
"Butchie was an amazing dancer with a great attitude. He loved to dance and his passion was evident," Lisa Nunziella reminds us. Butchie, was a man with a small physical stature but his dancing was enormous. He had such presence and the ability to make anyone look great due to his incredible lead. "I remember him at the Ice Palace back in New York when we would dance all night long. I enjoyed dancing with Butchie, he always inspired me on the dance floor....we miss him," expresses Lisa.
Although he is gone, Butchie has left an indelible mark, which can still be witnessed in the hustle today. Butchie lived for dancing and the classy hustle of today expresses the styling of William "Butchie" Everett.
Along with all the others...we thank him.