The Cha Cha dance is a lively, sassy, highly energetic, vibrant and full-of-fun dance that is one of the most popular of the Latin dances. In case you're wondering, we're not talking about the Cha Cha Slide made popular by D.J. Casper. Cha Cha is a great, light, playful ballroom dance for couples to learn together. The Cha Cha dance evolved in Cuba in the 1940's, from the Latin dances Rumba and Mambo and became very popular in the 1950's. You can see it demonstrated in the Cha Cha video on this page.
Cha Cha does not progress around the dance floor but is danced on one part of the floor. As with the Rumba, Cha Cha does require use of "Cuban Motion" which is a rolling action of the hips in a figure eight movement that is caused from the alternate bending and straightening of the knees when changing weight from foot to foot. Due to the speed of the music, the Cuban Motion will be less than in the Rumba and the body rhythm and movement will have a more syncopated feeling. The dance steps will also be smaller and quicker.
Cha Cha music is written in 4/4 time. There are two styles of Cha Cha. The first Cha Cha dance style is the International Style Latin Cha Cha, which is counted 2 3 4&1. In this dance style, the leg with the weight on it is maintained straight and the free leg will straighten before weight is transferred onto that leg and foot. The second Cha Cha dance style is the American Style Rhythm Cha Cha, which is counted 1 2 3 4& or 1-2-3, Cha-Cha. The weight, in this dance style, is taken onto a bent leg rather than a straightened leg when stepping from foot to foot. Both Cha Cha dance styles are demonstrated in the Cha Cha video on this page.