Encyclopedia of Dance: Cha-cha-cha


Cha-cha-cha is a beautiful and expressive dance, where a special role is assigned to a woman. No wonder it is jokingly called the dance of coquettes.

Cha-cha-cha is one of the most popular Latin American dances around the world. He is not just popular in the dance environment, he is included in the Latin American ballroom dance program.

History of occurrence

Cha-cha-cha is a rather young dance. It is only known for certain that it arose in the 50s of the last century on the American continent. The rest of the facts of the appearance of this dance are debatable. Most often, its appearance is associated with the name of the Cuban composer Enrique Horrin. Initially, he composed dansons and experimented with music, until one day he composed a new composition, «La enganadora», which has a rhythm between mambo and rumba. This song is considered the progenitor of cha-cha-cha.

It is difficult to say how the name «cha-cha-cha» appeared. There are many versions. The first draws an analogy of the name of the dance with a plant whose pods are called cha-cha. The simplest musical instruments were made from them — rattles that beat the rhythm.

The second connects the cha-cha-cha with another Cuban dance, the guaracha, allegedly originally a mambo with a guero rhythm performed on a special musical instrument made from a dried gourd and a jagged stick.

The version according to which the name of the dance can be associated with the sound of the dancers’ steps is considered the most reliable. The rhythm of the new melody, created by Enrique Horrin, liked the dancers, and they began to improvise to it, following the accompaniment of the maracas. At the same time, the movements of the legs made a sound reminiscent of cha-cha-cha, and this became the name of the dance.

The dance quickly gained popularity, and by the mid-50s even eclipsed the mambo. The spread of cha-cha-cha outside the American continent was due to the English ballroom dance teacher Pierre Lavelle. Seeing in Cuba a new dance, which was similar to the rumba, but distinguished by its sharp rhythm, he began to teach it in England, as a completely new original dance.

Now cha-cha-cha can be called the hallmark of Latin American culture, but only in the international arena has it acquired the features of elegant sophistication. Among the five other dances, cha-cha-cha is included in the Latin American (Latin) ballroom dancing program and is performed from the starting, beginner H-class.


What is cha-cha-cha?

The musical size of the cha-cha-cha performance is 4/4, the characteristic tempo is moderately fast, 30-32 beats per minute, the first strong beat is accentuated by the length of the step.

The basic movements of cha-cha-cha are in many ways similar to the movements of mambo and rumba. A striking difference is that it is based on a kind of four-beat rhythm, which cannot be confused with others.

Steps are taken for each beat, after which the knees are necessarily straightened, in addition, the dance is characterized by intense movement of the hips. Raising and lowering when moving along the floor is not performed. During the performance, closed, open, fan, open promenade and open counter promenade positions in pairs are possible.

Cha Cha Features

For the performance of this dance, a small area is required, since it is characterized by minimal movement around the hall. The dancers actually move in one place, however, due to the movements on the toes with the weight transferred forward, they create a feeling of lightness and airiness.

As already mentioned, special expressiveness in this dance is inherent in women. A playful, flirtatious mood, ease and carelessness create an atmosphere of dance. There is a lot of fire in it, this is what caused the comparison of dance with the development of relationships between lovers. Unlike the rumba, which in style resembles courtship, the establishment of relationships, cha-cha-cha is already a certain intensity of passion, where the partner invitingly demonstrates both the flexibility of the figure and flirtatiousness, charm and elegance.

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