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How to Cha-Cha

Even if you've got two left feet, you'll look like a dance champ when you master this simple, sassy take on salsa.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Assume the position Label yourselves Partner A and Partner B. A should face B with his left arm up at a 45-degree angle, and his right hand in the middle of B's back. B should face A with her right arm held up against A's left, and her left hand resting on A's right arm.
  • TIP: Traditionally, A's steps are performed by a man, and B's steps are performed by a woman.
  • Step 2: Learn the count The cha-cha has its own rhythm. Before putting your moves into action, you must learn the beat. The count is 1, 2, 3, cha-cha, 1, 2, 3, cha-cha. This can also be counted as 1, 2, 3, 4-and, 1, 2, 3, 4-and.
  • Step 3: Act like mirrors A and B's steps will always mirror each other, so if you get lost, watch what your partner is doing and pretend you're looking at your reflection.
  • Step 4: Step on 1 On the "1" count, A's right foot and B's left foot step to the side.
  • Step 5: Rock-step on 2 On the "2" count, A rock-steps forward with the left foot, and B rock-steps back with the right foot.
  • TIP: To do a rock-step, simply step and shift your weight onto that foot. Then, without moving your foot, shift your weight back to your original foot.
  • Step 6: Shift on 3 On the "3" count, A shifts his weight to the right foot, and B shifts her weight to the left foot.
  • Step 7: Change on 4 and 1 On the "4 and 1" count, A steps to the side and executes a quick left-right-left change of feet. B steps to the side and executes a quick right-left-right change of feet.
  • TIP: "Four and 1" can be counted as "cha-cha-1."
  • Step 8: Rock-step on 2 On the next "2" count, A rock-steps backward with the right foot, and B rock-steps forward with the left foot.
  • Step 9: Shift on 3 On the "3" count, A shifts his weight to the left foot, and B shifts her weight to the right foot.
  • Step 10: Change on 4 and 1 On the "4 and 1" count, A steps to the side and executes a quick right-left-right change of feet. B steps to the side and executes a quick left-right-left change of feet.
  • Step 11: Use those hips Once you've practiced this sequence to the music and you feel a little more comfortable, have fun with it. Add a little extra hip action, and throw in some sass.
  • FACT: The cha-cha, which became wildly popular in the 1950s, is a slowed-down cousin of the mambo.

You Will Need

  • A dance partner
  • Patience
  • The ability to laugh at yourself

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