Cha Cha Dance

One of my favorite ballroom dance of all time is the cha cha. What’s not to love? It’s such a fun and happy dance, everyone who sees it is automatically entertained. Let’s learn more about the cha cha dance and discover why it has become such a classic to all dance lovers around the world.

Like many Latin ballroom dance, the cha cha is a Cuban dance with African-Carribean influences. It incorporates the “Cuban motion” or the characteristic swinging of the hips that many people find fun and sassy. The mistake many new ballroom dancers make with this hip swing is they try to do it deliberately. The hip movement is actually the natural effect of the footwork and timing that the choreography of the dance initiates.

You might not know it but the cha cha is actually a close relative of the mambo. In fact, when the mambo was introduced in America that people said the dance was too fast and jumpy. So the Enrique Jorrin, a violinist of the Orquestra America Charanga, slowed down the timing to a third of its original mambo beat and the dancing followed suit. What emerged is a slower, suave cha cha danced to the rich fusion of Latin and jazz.

The cha cha dance became a huge hit in the international arena in the 1950s. America in particular developed a cha cha and mambo craze that had musicians from different states compete to come up with a better version of the dance. Local dance enthusiasts also came up with new routines and steps of the cha cha that made Latin competitions exciting and super entertaining to watch.

If you have ever seen the cha cha, you know that only small steps are required to dance this. Cha cha is a rhythmic succession of small gliding steps performed in time with the music. The beat is slow, slow, quick, quick, slow. Many new cha cha dancers make the mistake of starting at the wrong beat so if you are planning to dance the cha cha, be sure to listen closely to the music.

While the basic cha cha dance footwork is a simple forward and backward choreography, dips and turns are typically thrown in all throughout the dance to spice things up. The dancers must be particularly adept in correctly shifting their weight in the proper breaks and positions so that the dance will look seamless and effortless. Again, the shifts in weight and footwork is what will produce the hip swaying effect so dancers should not deliberately gyrate when attempting to do the cha cha.

Professional dancers make the cha cha dance look fancy because they know how to properly elongate their body and steps to travel the length of the dance floor. The style, technicality and showmanship that dancers exhibit is what makes any ballroom dance such an entertaining pastime to engage in. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a stellar dancer also, enroll in ballroom dancing lessons and let your star shine when you do! Enjoy!


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