Cha Cha

History:

One of the most popular Latin dances in the US, the Cha-Cha began as a variation of the mambo called triple mambo.  It was so easy and so much fun, it became the rage of the early 1950s.  It’s infectious one-two, one-two-three, rhythm demands that sitters become dancers.  Everyone can learn the Cha-Cha.

Music:

Cha-cha music is written in 4/4 time and may be played over a wide range of tempos.  Often in Cha-Cha music, a rhythmical link can be heard between each measure resulting in an overall rhythm of one, two, three, four and repeated over and over.

Characteristics:

Triple steps (Chasse) and rock steps are the basic components of the Cha-Cha.  Since the Cha-Cha is derived from the Rumba and Mambo, Cuban motion is an important aspect of this dance.

Teaching elements

  • Cha-cha breaks                                                       Concentrate on combinations and variations
  • Appearance in shine positions                            Open leads, self-expression, arms and hands
  • Quick footwork (syncopation)                            Build staccato footwork and syncopated movement
  • Cha-Cha turns                                                        Develop momentum control, weight off heels
  • Variety interrelation                                             Add variety by adapting patterns from related dances
  • Amalgamations                                                      Stress importance of combinations
  • Compare/contrast                                                 Rumba, Mambo, Salsa, Swing

Cha-Cha songs and artists include:

Oye Como Va – Tito Puente

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White – Perez Prez Prado and his Orchestra

Black Magic Woman – Santana

Bang Bang – David Sanborn