Cha Cha (Cha)

Used by Permission and adapted from the Dance Vision International Dance Association - American Style Rhythm Bronze Manual (MarB04).


Cha Cha evolved from a version of Cuban Mambo called Triple Mambo where triple steps were inserted between the forward and back breaks in slower Mambo music.  Cha Cha gets its name from the sound of the shoes shuffling across the floor.  The dance was introduced to the U.S. in the 1950's and sparked a new dance craze.

Dance Characteristics:

Cha Cha is lively, fun, syncopated and non-progressive.  It uses Cuban Motion while the rhythm is expressed by the whole body.  The arms move slightly in opposition to the knees to complement the music.  The legs alternate straightening, with opposite the knee veering to create the Cuban Motion of moving hip action. 

Musical Information:

Time Signature: 4/4

Tempo: 30 mpm

Count (and Beat Value): 1 2 3 4 and  (1 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1/2)

Alternative Teaching Counts: 1-2-3 Cha Cha; or   2-3 Cha-Cha-Cha; or Rock Step, Cha-Cha-Cha.


Ball Flat throughout with the following exceptions:  Forward Locks are Ball Flat, Ball, Ball Flat; Backward Locks are Ball, Ball Flat, Ball Flat; Side Taps and Flicks are Inside Edge of Toe.  Toes should be slightly turned out.  Feet should be kept in contact with the floor using slight pressure.

Technical Tips:

Keep weight forward towards partner, take a smaller more compact dance hold, and use ball-flat footwork and small steps.

Some of My Favorite Cha Cha Songs:

1. Oye Como Va by Santana

2. Watermelon Man by Pancho Sanchez

3. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (an often recorded cha cha standard)

Bronze Syllabus Figures:

1.  Basic In Place

2.  Side Basic

3.  Progressive Basic

4.  Outside Partner

5.  Crossover Break

6.  Cross Body Lead

7.  Open Break and Underarm Turn

8.  Chase Turn

9.  Shoulder Check

10. Shadow Positions

11. Butterfly

12. Alternating Underarm Turns

13. Cross Body Pull Back

14. Three Cha Cha Chas

15. Crossover Flick to Side Break