Cha Cha


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.


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.


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