The cha-cha-cha (also called cha-cha), is a dance of Cuban origin. It is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrin in the early 1950s. This rhythm was developed from the danzón-mambo. The name of the dance is an onomatopoeia derived from the shuffling sound of the dancers' feet when they dance two consecutive quick steps (correctly, on the fourth count of each measure) that characterize the dance.
Cha Cha gathers its flavor, rhythm and charm from a derivation of three primary sources: the Mambo, Rumba, and indirectly, the Lindy (with each being danced to the same one-two-three triple step).
The Cha Cha, while sprung up from Latin American roots in Cuba, really flowered under North American influence. While closely identified with the aforementioned Mambo, Cha Cha has enough intrinsic individuality to be classified as a distinct dance.
Cha-cha-cha is one of the five dances of the "Latin American" program of international ballroom competitions.
As described above, the basis of the modern dance was laid down in the 1950s by Pierre and Lavelle and developed in the 1960s by Walter Laird and other top competitors of the time. The basic steps taught to learners today are based on these accounts.
Cha Cha’s tempo is anywhere from slow and staccato to fast and lively. It is very much an on-the-beat dance and hard not to inject one’s own feelings into it. This facet, more than any other, makes the dance fun for people of all ages. It is a real let-it-all-out type of dance. Cha Cha is danced in place as the steps are quite compact, with the feet usually no more than 12 inches apart. Popularized in the 1950’s with music by such artists as Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez, today it is danced to popular night club kind of music.
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