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Originally known as the Cha-Cha-Cha. Became popular about 1954. Cha Cha is an offshoot of the Mambo. In the slow Mambo tempo, there was a distinct sound in the music that people began dancing to, calling the step the "Triple" Mambo. Eventually it evolved into a separate dance, known today as the Cha Cha.

The Latin cha-cha is a very famous ballroom dance. Created in Cuba, it contains African and Cuban rhythms that meld into a Latin beat. It's characteristic counting, one-two, cha-cha-cha! has made it famous

Cha Cha Characteristcs

The Cha Cha is a vibrant, flamboyant and playful dance. The Cha Cha requires small steps and lots of hip motion (Cuban motion).

It is danced in 4/4 time. The fourth beat is split into two, giving it the characteristic 2,3,4 & 1 rhythm. Therefore, five steps are danced to four beats as in the "One, two, cha cha cha" rhythm.

The hip movements come mainly from alternately bending and straightening the knees...as one knee bends (or straightens), the same hip drops (raises).

The Cha Cha is very similar to the Rumba and Mambo, several steps coincide with the steps of these dances. The main difference between the dances is that the "slow" steps of the Rumba and the Mambo are replaced with a triple step in the Cha Cha

The name "cha-cha" first appeared in Haiti, where it was the name of a component of a bell. This bell was made from a plat that made a "cha-cha" noise when rubbed. Haitians quickly learned to use the bell element as an instrument to keep time as well. The "cha-cha" was, therefore, probably the first metronome to hit Haiti.

The cha-cha was actually created from the mambo, when it toured America. Several audiences complained that the mambo was too fast and jerky for their taste. Orchestras began slowing it down, and the cha-cha was created from this new beat. Therefore, the cha-cha is a mambo, slowed down about three times! Since the mambo was a fusion of jazz and Lain rhythm, the cha-cha retains these qualities. It is a sensual, energetic dance.

The cha-cha itself was invented by Enrique Jorrin, a Cuban violinist, in 1954. Jorrin, a member of the Orquesta America Charanga, slowed down the mambo beat and made several recording that implemented this change. The sound of the cha-cha is said to be the origin of the name. When Cuban ladies danced, their hells smacked the floor in a cha-cha-cha rhythm.

  • Timing: 4/4
  • Tempo: 110 to 130 beats per minute
  • Accent: On the 1st beat of each bar
  • Competition: 1,5 - 2 minutes
  • Rise and Fall: Nil
  • Basic Rhythm : 2 3 4 & 1, 2 3 4 & 1
  • Alternative Counts : 1-2-3 Cha Cha; or 2-3 Cha-Cha-Cha; or Rock Step, Cha-Cha-Cha.

Footwork: Ball Flat throughout with the following exceptions: Forward Locks are Ball Flat, Ball, Ball Flat; Backward Locks are Ball, Ball Flat, Ball Flat; Side Taps and Flicks are Inside Edge of Toe. Toes should be slightly turned out. Feet should be kept in contact with the floor using slight pressure.

Technical Tips: Keep weight forward towards partner, take a smaller more compact dance hold, and use ball-flat footwork and small steps

1 Basic Underarm Turn with Spin
2 Cross over Breaks Back Spot Turn
3 Outside Breaks Forward Spot Turns
4 Back Breaks 3 Cha-Chas
5 Open Breaks Side -Side Triples
6 Progressive Breaks Stop & Go
7 The Chase Sweetheart
8 Underarm Turn Fallaway Swivel
9 Cross Body Lead Promenade Swivels
10 Kick Swivels Back Spot with Underarm Turns
1 Basic Shoulder - Shoulder Adv Rope Spin
2 Open Basic Reverse Top Advanced Hip Twist
3 Shoulder to Shoulder Opening Out from Reverse Top Cross Basic
4 Side Step Aida Cuban Breaks
5 Forward Back Run Spiral Turkish Towel
6 Basic In Place Open Hip Twist Sweetheart
7 New York Curl Follow My Leader
8 Time Steps Hip Twist Spirals
9 Spot Turns Foot Changes
10 Hand to Hand
11 Hockey Stick
12 Natural Top
13 Natural Opening Out
14 Closed Hip Twist
15 Fan
16 Alemana
17 Threes Cha Chas