floor, with a level of energy and a bottomless fuel tank, she makes
things happen -even behind the scenes. Combine a talented dancer with
a savvy business mind and we present Joyce Szili. The first lady of
hustle in the capital city, Washington DC. Joyce has been sharing her
love and passion for the hustle for 40 years. Born and raised in
Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, Joyce stumbled on the hustle while on a
trip to New York City at a club called "The Swing". "I started
dancing Hustle around 1974", explains Joyce, "I first saw it in New
York". The dance captivated her attention and later that same year,
when back home in DC, she witnessed the dance again at the "East
India Club" in Georgetown, and “The Zanzibar” on L Street in NW DC.
She already had made the mental connection with the dance and now
seized the opportunity to embrace it with her dance partner (former
husband) Alain Vital. Energized by the hustle Joyce and Alain began
practicing and putting their new found skills to the test. As a
couple, they competed primarily in the DC area from 1976 -1983.
Rated one of the top dance teams in the area they won numerous
contests including the "Big Apple" in Hyattsville, MD, the Virginia
State Ballroom Championships and the Mid-Atlantic Hustle
Championships in Richmond VA. They danced at all the popular
discotheques including Maxims, The Plum, Numbers....The discotheques
and hustle dancing had now become a way of life for Joyce. The entire
country had caught the bug and were now infatuated with dancing. It
was at this time that the news broke that , the crown jewel of
competitions was coming to town. The audition/contest to appear on
the syndicated television show "Dance Fever", was taking place in
Washington DC. Any buddy that was anyone in dancing would be there.
The regional winners would be flown to Los Angeles where they would be
part of that once in a life time experience dancing on national TV.
Joyce and Alain were at the top of the hustle food chain. They had
developed a cohesive partnership. This was their opportunity to shine
and that is what they did. Wisked off to Hollywood, California, their
dreams were coming to fruition. "We appeared on Dance Fever which is
where we meet Eddie Vega and his partner Lourdes Jones," explains
Joyce, "we realized they were doing a different style of Hustle, more
dynamic and more exciting." Anxious to learn this 'different style of
the hustle', Joyce and Alain started making regular trips to New York.
"We loved it", shares Joyce. Reenergized and on a new path Joyce
wanted to incorporate this smooth, classy hustle style into her own
repertoire. While the rest of the country was mimicking John Travolta
and bouncing around the dance floor, Joyce recognized that this NY
style of hustle was something different then what was being portrayed
in other areas of the country. With continued success and her new
take on the hustle, Joyce enjoyed more dance victories and the thrill
of dancing in Concert with pop singer "Gayle Adams" at The Club House
in Washington DC. Gayle had big hit singles on the music charts
including "Your Love Is A Life Saver" and "Love Fever". Next stop
was dancing in the video for the mega hit song "Shake Your Groove
Thing" with singers Peaches and Herb. Dancing and Joyce Szili were
one in the same - synonymous with hustle. For nearly 10 years Joyce
was non stop dancing. But then something changed. Dancing was taking a
new direction and so did Joyce. She disengaged.
During her hiatus, nearly 10 years had passed when through the hustle
grapevine, word had spread that a hustle icon had passed away. The
gentlemen that had inspired Joyce to expand her own horizons in dance,
at just 28 years old, Eddie Vega was gone. " When I heard of the
passing of Eddie and the plans to start " Hustle USA" (Maria Torres,
Debra Hampton, David Sarul, Donna Boyle)" explains Joyce, " I decided
to get back into it and start dancing Hustle again." With a new found
desire, Joyce was back. A little older, a bit smarter and with
unwavering commitment to carrying the hustle flame, sharing it with
others. "From 1993 to 1994 I dedicated as much time as I could to
organizing and bringing Hustle back to the Washington, DC area,"
explains Joyce. But that wasn't enough, she had only a sip and now
needed to quench her thirst, so in 1995 she retired from her full time
position with Delta Airlines, making Hustle DC her full-time commitment.
"Joyce is very well respected and looked upon as the Goddess of
Hustle", shares Carlo Dejesus. "She has brought so much, If it
weren't for her, this area would not have a Hustle community. The
hard work she puts in just to have a dance night for these people go
unrecognized without a doubt. She loves to give back in many ways.
She's just a true individual to admire for her perseverance and
dedication making what's so hard, seem so easy just because of who she
is", shares Carlo.
Twenty years ago she created the Monday Night Hustle in the DC area.
Although the location of the dance social has changed over the years,
her dedication and passion towards the dance has stayed fast. A true
hustle catalyst for the hustle, the dance continues to grow and thrive
in the DC area under the caring eyes of Joyce, the Dean of Hustle.
"She has held her regular weekly hustle dance for so many years and
consistently week after week has a wonderful place for all the dancers
to go hustle" explains Lana May. "She is a very skilled dance teacher
and can take someone that has absolutely no dance training and get the
person dancing quickly! I know because I was one of those people. She
is so dedicated to hustle and keeps the flame burning. We would be
lost without Joyce because of her tremendous dedication and commitment
to the dance community".
Where as many professional instructors teach and/or coach a variety of
dance styles, Joyce has hyper focused on just one, the Hustle.
Channeling her artistic energy, Joyce continues teaching, organizing
dance socials, workshops and planning for Disco America Dance Championships 2014.
"Joyce was working for Disco America for many years before becoming
part of the longest running hustle event in the world", shares Donna
Boyle. " She was known as the Hustle Queen of Washington DC, running
parties and teaching most of the hustle dancers in the DC area. She
worked hard in keeping the Hustle alive throughout the years and
continues to teach and run her weekly party on Monday nights."
Joyce has produced and directed 12 successful hustle dance teams. With
intricate patterns, she has dancers executing exciting moves,
changing partners, delighting audiences every time they take the stage.
"For more than 20 years, Joyce Szili has been instrumental in keeping
hustle alive in the DC-MD-VA area", explains Erica Smith. " From
hosting her weekly parties, to forming competitive dance teams in both
VA and MD, instructor, choreographer, performer, competitor, mentor,
event director, champion and friend, Joyce Szili is a tremendous asset
to the hustle community", proclaims Erica.
Joyce has that rare gift to work with others and bring the best out of
them. Training dancers in unison to learn eye catching team routines.
Admired by her students, friends and fellow professionals, Joyce has
been an inspiration to dancers for over 30+ years. It's not by
accident that she has helped create one of the most popular dance events running today.