Learn How to Cha Cha

When you hear those two slow beats followed by three quick, you will recognize the distinctive rhythm of the Cha Cha.  Soon when you hear those three quick beats, you will move side and close and cha cha cha together.  The Cha Cha allows plenty of room for creative dancing so be prepared to ad lib as you become familiar with the basic moves.  Whatever your mood, flaunt it with style in the Cha Cha.

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Like most of today’s dancing music, the Cha Cha is 4/4 time so dancers perform four steps per bar.  On the fourth beat, the music tells you to step side and close to your dancing partner.  This is accomplished by a drag of the step foot followed by a drag of your other foot to close.  You have just performed the distinctive Cha Cha for which the ballroom dance is named.

Many Cha Cha instructors count the Cha Cha with slow-slow-quick-quick-slow but that can be confusing.  Beginners may prefer to think rock-rock-side-close-side.  That count draws a nice perspective of the rhythm and the image.

As in most Latino dances, the dancers commence steps on the 2nd beat of the music and change weight from one leg to another between beats.  In the Cha Cha, the dancer’s feet only move on the 1st, 2nd and 4th beats.  It is the change of weight that gives the dance its distinctive look and feel.  Weight changes take place halfway through the 1st and 2nd beats, on the 3rd beat and halfway through the 4th beat and on the 1st beat.  So, counting from the second beat of the music, the preferred count is 2 & 3 Cha-Cha, 1.

There are two basic moves in the Cha Cha.  These moves are best described as the Forward Basic Movement and the Back Basic Movement.  There may be variations of body position and various combinations, but these two movements create the Cha Cha.  In the Cha Cha, a move generally consists of any sequence of eight steps.

In the Cha Cha, when the man moves a foot forward, the female moves her opposite foot backwards.  When the man performs the Forward Basic Movement, the woman is performing the Back Basic Movement.  The man’s Forward Basic Movement is followed by his Back Basic Movement.

It is from the Back Basic Movement that the fancy moves originate.  After the man steps back on his left foot and the woman steps forward on her right, they both step back.  This step is initiated by the man pushing the woman back to prevent her from stepping forward.  Now, the dancers are in position for those showy steps.  Cha Cha Cha!

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