The IHDA Founders

 

Founder:  Billy Fajardo

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The IHDA was conceived by Billy Fajardo in 1999.  He realized that a need existed for an organization that would create an environment of fairness for Hustle dance competitors, and to foster the growth and expansion of the dance.  Billy approached his close friend, Maria Torres, who at the time had one of the only Hustle dance events and competitions in the world.  It was called Hustle

USA .  Hustle USA was owned by Maria Torres, Debra Hampton, Donna Boyle and Disco Dave Sarul.   After many discussions with Maria, it was agreed that Hustle USA would be a good place to start the process of galvanizing the community toward a common goal.  . 

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The first meeting to discuss the concept of IHDA was held at Hustle USA in September 2000.   All of the prominent Hustle dancers of that time were invited.  Billy presented the idea to the group.  The organization was actually created twice, first as a regular corporation, and 1 year later as a non-profit organization.

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The IHDA as it is known today was launched in November 2003 in the state of

Florida.  It was introduced to the hustle community at large during the International Hustle & Salsa Competition in April 2004, where the first membership drive was launched. 

The original officers of the corporation were Billy Fajardo, President, Arte Phillips, Vice President, and Katie Marlow, Treasurer.  The IHDA was housed out of Dancesation Studios in Dania, Florida.

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About Billy Fajardo:

Billy Fajardo is one of the original New York Hustle Dancers.   He began doing the dance in 1972 in the streets and social clubs of the Bronx.  He was the first known national Hustle Dance Champion, winning the national Hustle on Up Dance Championships, which was held at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City by Billboard Magazine in 1975. 

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Billy was instrumental in the development of the dance as we now do it today, and if one speaks with him, he would gladly show how the dance progressed from its original non-syncopated basic, to the 3-count step that is done today.

 

In 1977 he took Hustle to a national television audience on a show called Don Kirschner's Rock Concert, which aired weekly on NBC.  Billy was the owner, and lead dancer of the well known group "The Disco Dance Dimensions", which became the in house dance company for the show for 4 straight seasons.  In addition, Billy, his partner Sandra Rivera and the company toured worldwide, helping to foster the flame that was "Disco" and "Hustle" all over the globe. 

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Along the way, Billy also developed additional dance skills through his training in ballet with American Ballet Theatre, jazz with Phil Black, among others.   

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As a result of this additional training, lifts, side by sides and classically styled arms were added to competitive hustle.  In turn, this served as an example to others from the community to up their game.  Due to this, many of the young hustle dancers from that time also began to study, and went on to build lifelong dance careers.

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During the mid to late 1980's, the demand for Hustle dance performances began to wane with the downturn in popularity of disco music.  Billy began to gravitate toward more traditional dance styles, and began to perform in Cabaret revues as a soloist.  He did Latin Fire in Puerto Rico, Latin Fire in Venezuela, and others...  In the early 1990's, he also became the choreographer for the world renowned Combinacion Perfecta tour, which incidentally, provided inspiration to many a young salsa performer. 

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In 1999, Billy met his current partner and spouse, Katie Marlow.  Billy and Katie have become one of the most highly recognized performance teams in the dance world; performing on virtually every continent on the planet.  In the United States, they have been featured at such well known venues as Radio City Music Hall and Lincoln Center.   They were also featured on the Main Stage for the Superbowl, as well as in a tribute to their mentors, the world renowned Augie and Margo Rodriguez, both on Broadway, and then again, with the Miami City Ballet.  Billy and Katie were the subjects of a special television segment for Good Life TV, and Billy has been interviewed for countless documentaries and features regarding partner dancing.  Billy and Katie have been featured cover stories for various dance publications; including SalsaWeb.com, DanceSport Magazine, 5-6-7-8, NYSC Magazine and many others.

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Billy and Katie have garnered numerous titles and credits during their time together.  They are the only couple in the history of the United States to hold two separate world championship titles in the same year, for both Cabaret Exhibition and Latin Hustle.  Billy is also a Vice World Salsa Champion.  In addition, Billy and Katie were four time invitees to the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival Open Exhibition Championships, an honor reserved for only a select few throughout the world.  They have been honored with numerous recognition awards over the years for their contributions to the dance world

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Billy, along with Katie were the head judges for the World Salsa Dance Championships as seen on ESPN since its inception in 2005, and were instrumental in developing the judging system that has been adopted by much of the Hustle and Salsa world today.

Billy has made it his mission to nurture up and coming talent from the various dance communities, including Latin Hustle, Salsa, Theatrical, Ballroom and West Coast Swing.  He acts even today, as an ambassador of the Hustle dance, continuing to spread it to communities around the world. 

 

Training and Credentials:

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Ballet:  School of American Ballet (home of American Ballet Theatre)  1975-1982

Jazz:  Phil Black, Frank Hatchett 1978-1984

Theatrical:  Augie & Margo Rodriguez, Francois Szony, Rufus Dustin, John Ford 1975-Present

Mambo/Salsa:  Dancing since 1972. 

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Certified Championship judge for National Dance Council of America

Licentiate Certification for Theatre Arts Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance

DVIDA Certified Dance Instructor and Examiner

Founder of the International Hustle Dance Association

Member World Dance Council

Member Screen Actors Guild

 

 
 

 

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