Ballroom Cha-Cha first grew popular in Europe and North America in the 1950s as a modified version of the Cuban Rumba, with a quick triple-step replacing the rumba’s “slow” beat.
Like many Latin dance styles, the Cha Cha (or Cha Cha Cha) is a “toe first” dance step, which makes the forward-stepping leg straighten as the weight rolls backward from the toe to the ball of the foot and heel.
This weight-transfer involves considerably more hip movement than a heel-first dance step like the Fox Trot. But there’s no need to “learn” to move the hips. Students who focus on the toe-first step will feel their hips move naturally.
Although the toe-first step is similar to Rumba, the quick triple-step also gives Cha Cha a close affinity to East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing.
At Richard Felix’s River City Dance Studio in San Antonio, students learn how they can switch back and forth between the Cha Cha and Swing dance steps during the same song.
As with the Rumba, the Cha-Cha dance steps include the crossover, the open-break and underarm turn, the cross body lead, side breaks, the cross body strut, and many other variations.
Most often associated with Latin music, the cha cha beat is incorporated into a surprisingly broad range of popular songs.
There’s nothing quite like the feel of locking into the cha-cha-cha dance rhythm.
Listen to a music sample
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