The Cha-Cha-Cha or Cha Cha dance was developed using “danzon-mambo” as a template. This “triple step” dance is said to have originated in the city of Havana in Cuba. Apparently, this dance style was named after the “shuffling sound” produced by the feet of the dancers. In addition, the basic footwork used in this dance can be found in several other Afro-Cuban dance styles belonging to a religious sect called Santeria. Furthermore, this dance style has over the years become popular and spread far and wide to places such as the United States of America and Western Europe.

a. History/origin of the Cha Cha Cha Dance:

This dance style was created in the 1950s by a musician called Enrique Jorrin who was a violinist and composer for a group called Orquesta America. Now, this group mainly performed at dance halls in Havana where dances such as danzon-mambo were mainly performed. Jorrin became aware that many dancers had trouble keeping up with the rhythm of the music created for the danzon-mambo while performing in these halls. It is then that he composed music that possessed a completely different melody to the one played for the danzon-mambo dance. So it was in response to this new melody which was eventually played for the first time at the Silver Star Club in Havana that the dancers then created a “triple step” dance. These were the original recordings of cha-cha-cha compositions. They were instant hits in Havana, and other charanga orchestras in Cuba quickly adopted this new sound. Furthermore, it was the footwork involved in this newly developed “triple step” dance that created the sound “cha-cha-cha”, and hence this new dance style was named after the sound produced by the foot movements of the dancers.

b. Costumes used in the Cha Cha Cha:

Since this dance style involves both males and females the costumes used will vary accordingly and they are as follows:

1. For Women:

The attire worn includes a short multi-layered ruffle that at times also exposes the midriff of the performer to add to the sensuality that this dance style possesses.

2. For Men:

The attire worn includes colorful deep V-neck shirts and pants to go along with it.

c. Music involved in the Cha-Cha-Cha Dance:

The music used in this dance form is essentially Cuban in its origin. It has a steady beat with lots of energy, may involve complex polyrhythms, and is extremely sensual. In addition, the count used while performing this dance style included “two three chachacha” “four and one two three” or “one, two, three cha-chas”.

d. Training availability and dance technique involved in the Cha Cha Cha:

In terms of technique, this dance form essentially involves the use of feet as well as hip movements. The basic step of this style of dancing begins with the (mostly) male taking a chequered step forward with the left foot, while retaining weight on the right foot Furthermore, the right leg knee needs to be straightened and be brought in close proximity to the back of the left knee, while at the same time the left knee needs to be straighten out just before the weight is transferred onto it. Since this dance style is extremely popular these days, there are many training centres/schools that are available the world over for all those interested in learning this “elegant and energetic” dance style.

e. How to dance the Cha-cha-cha (Cha cha cha dancing Basic tutorial video for beginners):

The following 3 videos show the basic steps of the Cha-cha-cha explaining how to do the cha cha cha dance. All these 3 YouTube channels provide extensive tutorials covering the basics of cha cha cha dancing for beginners.

  1. Passion4dancing
  2. Addicted2Salsa
  3. Dance Insanity

Some of the best Cha Cha Cha Dance videos:

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