The Cha Cha is a flirty and complex dance full of fun, lively energy. It has a playful, upbeat rhythm that features quick rocking movements and stepping in place. The cha cha is quite fast and has several sharp moves required to make it come together. You can learn how to do the cha cha with each move broken down in the free video lessons from Howcast!
The cha cha was created during the 1950s when an English dance teacher, Monsieur Pierre, visited Cuba. While he was there, he witnessed dancers performing the rumba with a triple step. The dance Pierre saw was a combination of rumba and mambo dance.
Pierre was fascinated by this dance and began to teach it at home, calling it the cha cha cha. The name came about from the sound created by dancers’ shoes as they moved. Eventually, one of the chas was dropped and it became known as the cha cha that is still quite popular today.
Seeing all the hip movements and steps included in a full-speed cha cha can make it intimidating at first. It may take some time for you to learn, but once you have the count and basic steps down, you’ll have no problem dancing the cha cha yourself!
The cha cha is not as close as many other dances. There is ample room left in between the partners. A man’s left hand will extend out to the left while the woman’s right hand will extend out to meet it. The man’s right hand will be placed below a woman’s left shoulder blade, while the woman’s left hand will be above and rest on the man’s right shoulder blade.
Cha cha dancing is performed in 4/4 time, but you’ll need to take five steps during the four beats of music. The count should be done with three slow steps followed by two quick steps (Slow x3, Quick x2). It is easiest to count saying: 1, 2, 3, cha, cha. Slow steps should take a single beat, while quicker steps will be performed during a half-beat. This means that the last two steps should be done across a single beat.
The easiest way to learn how to do the cha cha is by starting with the basic sidestep. Remember to sway your hips with each step to create a nice flowing movement!
This is how you can perform the Basic Cha Cha step:
We hope this guide made it easier for you to learn the cha cha dance! Explore more Cha Cha video lessons in this series below, or go to our main How to Dance page to learn a new style.
Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith's Dance Times Square Latin and Ballroom
Melanie LaPatin and Tony Meredith's Dance Times Square is New York City's premiere Latin and Ballroom Dance Studio. Tony and Melanie have more than 100 championship titles, including The United States Professional Latin American Championships, North American Latin Championships, and Dirty Dancing Championships, just to name a few. They have done choreography for "So You Think You Can Dance" and have taught celebrities to dance for both film and television. Dance Times Square offers private and group instruction for all ages and abilities; beginners are welcome and no partner is necessary.