History of the Cha-Cha

Learn the history of the cha-cha dance in this Howcast video.

Aaron: Hi, guys. It’s Aaron.

Christina: And I’m Christina.

Aaron: With Dance Times Square, here in New York City. Today, we’re going to be talking a little bit about the history of the Cha-Cha. This dance was actually born in the late 1940’s, coming from a cross between the rumba and the mambo. And a lot of these big band sounds in the nightclubs in Havana, and everything at the time, these extended jam sessions between these American and Cuban musicians, actually gave birth to a new sound.

A cross between that Cuban rumba and the mambo, and was this syncopated rhythm that we know as the Cha-Cha. It was brought over to the United States, and popularized into what we now know as the ballroom Cha-Cha, and what we see a little bit on these competition shows, and "Dancing With the Stars," and such and is very popular in the dance sport world now.

What characterizes this dance aside from rumba and the mambo, is that the Cha-Cha is a very cheeky and playful, flirtatious dance between the man and the woman. It was originally known as "the dance between the rooster and the hen." Sort of just this courting dance, of back and forth, always sort of playing one off of the other; very, very flirtatious. Very cheeky; two very distinct characters. A very masculine and a very feminine role in this dance, always giving and taking from the other.

Christina: And it’s very much a game of cat and mouse, sort of. Where you have one partner will kind of chase after the other one and the other partner will maybe be responsive, or maybe decide in that move that they’re not very responsive, and they kind of go the other way and then turn around very quickly and kind of go back.

It’s very much a playing back and forth between the partners, playing cat and mouse, hard to get. But it’s very fun. It’s very flirtatious. A lot of fun rhythms in Cha-Cha, and it’s just a really great dance, socially and competitively.

Aaron: Extremely light and playful, as well as fast and very active. It can go from one end of the spectrum to the other. It could be very relaxed and very social, or it could be very competitive and very fast, very flirtatious, almost like a game of tag. It’s a lot of fun. It’s the closest we get to that out there on the dance floor, I think. That’s a little bit about the history of the Cha-Cha, guys.