Cha Cha has the distinction of being one of the most dominant "pop" rhythms of the last 40 to 50 years and is characterized as having an upbeat, infectious rhythm, which creates a sense of playfulness and flirtation. The Cha Cha is said to be a combination of the Mambo and the American Swing.
Cha Cha is a Cuban innovation of the old Latin form (danson). Originally known as the Cha-Cha-Cha the Cha Cha became popular about 1954. Cha Cha is an off-shoot of the Latin dance 'Mambo'. In the slow Mambo tempo, there is a distinct sound in the music that people began dancing to, calling the step the "Triple" Mambo. Eventually it evolved into a separate dance, today known as the Cha Cha.
The character of Cha Cha is "fast and sassy" with a staccato feeling that can be quite athletic. Even though the dance is often called "Cha Cha Cha", it is danced "Cha Cha".
It is very important to understand the musical timing of Cha Cha to dance it correctly. If you don't, it will always have a "frantic feeling" and fast Cha Cha's will be very difficult to dance. Cha Cha music is usually played in 4/4 time generally at a speed of 28 to 31 mpm (measures per minute). Musically it is counted: 1, 2, 3, 4, & or an easy way to remember it is: 1,2,3, Cha, Cha (a Cha is 1/2 beat).
SALSA & STREET LATIN PROGRAM OVERVIEW