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All You Need to Know About the Cha Cha

The Cha Cha is an expressive and lively dance that is easy to grasp and instantly infectious; the clue is in the title – once you have said, ‘one, two, cha-cha-cha’, you know the rhythm. If that sounds too good to be true, come along to Arthur Murray for a free dance lesson and see for yourself how easy it is  to learn this dance style. We’re sure that once bitten with the Cha Cha bug, you’ll be forever smitten.

A little bit of history

One of the most popular Latin dances, the cha-cha is a relatively new style that surfaced in the late 1940s. Originating in Cuba, this craze offered something slower than the frenetic ‘voodoo’ Mambo, but faster than the sensual Rumba.

Many people have been credited with spreading its popularity: native composer and violinist, Enrique Jorrin made several recordings of this usual beat in 1954, including ‘La Engañadora’; Prado Perez and his Orchestra toured North America during the 1950s, infecting the culture with the lilting Latin sounds; and the English dance teacher, Pierre Lavelle, brought his version of the cha-cha back from Cuba to Britain in 1952.

What’s in a name?

Also known sometimes as the Cha-Cha-Cha, the onomatopoeic name imitates the sound of the dancers’ shoes as they shuffle around the floor. ‘Cha Cha’ is also derived from the seedpods which were originally used as primitive rattles or maracas to punch out the rhythm for participants.

Mastering the moves

Derived from among other Latin dances, the Cuban Motion is an important aspect of the Cha-Cha, which is the distinctive hip-swivel. This move is formed by a raised hip on a straight leg and a dipped hip on the bent leg. The feet stay close to the floor throughout the dance, with slower steps on the first two beats and a quick, compact action for the triple step, or ‘cha-cha-cha that follows.

In addition to having Cuban roots, the Cha Cha’s dance steps bear a strong resemblance to the Lindy Hop, another popular post-war style, which comprises a series of rock and triple-steps. The style swept the world in the 1950s and is still prevalent today. It can be heard in the music of Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony and Carlos Santana.

Try Cha Cha for an infectious change

Getting into Cha Cha introduces you to irresistible music and the dance steps are easy to master. It’s a great place to start for beginners. Although you can even dance it on your own, it works particularly well with a partner and requires a good connection as the dancers synchronise their movements.

The nature of its motion helps you meet others on the social dance floor and, being a fast-paced dance, the Cha Cha will keep you fit. The moves tone your legs through the quick movements and the constant hip action help build a strong core. The speed of this style to the fast rhythm will keep your memory sharp too.

Step out to Cha Cha today

As Sam Cooke once famously proclaimed, ‘Everybody Loves To Cha Cha Cha’, so call Arthur Murray today for a free trial class today of this spicy dance style.