Learn About the
Cha Cha
An American Rhythm Dance
(International Latin Dance)

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The Cha Cha originated in the 1950's as an off shoot of the Mambo and became the "Triple Mambo".  It is thought to have originated in Cuba, and is the most popular of all of the Latin-American dances.  The Cha Cha has a very distinctive melodic and staccato sound and has dominated the top 40 and pop rhythms for the past 40 to 50 years.  The music rivals the popularity of the swing sounds.  Every decade has itís own distinctive hits and most of those lend themselves to the Cha Cha rhythm.  It is danced in Discos or Night Clubs, Country Clubs, Studios, as well as, one of the competitive dances in both the American and International Styles.

The Cha Cha is a strong and rhythmical dance, with tight hip actions and ribcage isolations.  The Cha Cha is a very playful dance with great partnership and solo elements.  One of the most popular and exciting of the Latin or Rhythm styles of dance.



Fast, fun and  rhythmical, hip and rib action is essential.

1. Danced in One Spot
2.  Cuban Motion (hip action)
3. Strong use of Rib-Cage action
4. Na-Ni-Go action (Forward & Back)
5. Rocking Actions, Chasses, Locking Steps
6. Solo Movements emphasized, kicks, flicks, ripples, spins, etc.


Ball/Flat throughout, toes turned out.

*Note  1.  On side movements, the foot can roll from the inside edge to a flat foot

*Note 2.  And on  "Back" Rocking  the heel may or may not lower depending on the speed of the music.  Also, when dancing Back Spot Turns (Natural Tops) the right "hooking" should be placed with weight on ball of  foot only.  

*Note 3.  When dancing forward or back "Chasses" or "Locks" the footwork is:
Forward  -  Ball/Flat, Ball, Ball/Flat
Backward  -  Ball,  Ball/Flat,  Ball/Flat


47- 51 MPM

Cha Cha Rhythm:
1  2  3  4  & , 1  2  3  4  &

Count & Beat Values:
 1           2          3         4          &    
  slow     slow       slow     quick    quick  
  side      rock     step     side      close     

There are various additional counts that can also be used in advanced variations. 

Generally, the 1, 2, and 3 counts in the music are danced slowly and held strongly.  The 4, and & counts are quicker and require a strong staccato action (splitting the 4 beat).
The 4 and the & get quick counts, which are 1/2 beats.   The 1, 2, 3 are all quarter notes and get  a whole beat each.

This content is intended as general information and should not be used in lieu of an actual dance class to learn the aforementioned dance.

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