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Cha Cha Cha


The Cha Cha evolved from one of three versions of the Mambo, a dance born in Cuba and introduced to the West in 1947. The "Triple Mambo", one of those versions, became very popular in the early 1950s and was subsequently renamed the Cha Cha. As music always dictates the dance, the tripple or split-beat steps were inserted when a slower version of the Mambo was being played.


Danced in 4/4 timing, the music has 4 even beats with the accent on the first beat of the bar. Often the music also has an additional half beat between the fourth and first beat.


The Cha Cha is a non-progressive, lively, fun dance, which uses a "ball flat" foot action and keeps the body over the feet. The legs and hips are used to produce a strong rhythmical movement that compliments the music. This dance has closed position as well as single handhold, double handhold, and solo movements.

Normal Hold and Poise:

Stand with feet apart, facing partner about 6 inches apart, with the head erect, the body naturally upright and the shoulders down.

The Man's right hand is placed on the Lady's left shoulder blade and the Lady's arm rests lightly on his right arm following the curve of his arm to the shoulder. The Man's left hand is raised in a gentle curve to the level of the eyes. The Lady's right hand is placed in the Man's left hand with her fingers between his thumb and first finger. The hands are lightly clasped.

Use of Arms:

The arms are held in a natural and unaffected way. In many figures the partner is held with only one hand and in some cases there is no hold. The free arms are never static.

Movement of the arms is subtle and rhythmically coordinated with the movement of the body allowing for personal expression.

Hip Movement:

Every step commences to move with a slightly flexed knee. On steps taking a full beat of music the knee straightens just before it reaches its position. As weight is taken fully on the step the hips move naturally in the direction of the leg receiving the weight. The action used on counts "4 and" is described in the Cha Cha Cha Chasse section.

Settling - The body weight is settled over a straight standing leg which commences the hip movement. (Used to commence movement of the body weight).

Lateral - The hips move to left or right with minimal rotation (As step 2 of chasse to Left or Right).

Rotational - The hips rotate around the vertical line of the spinal column. (Occurs in varying degrees throughout).

Twisting - An action where the turn commences in the hips only. (Example Lady's Hip Twists).

Rhythmical Expression:

The knee and hip action used on forward or backward steps is danced on beats 2 or 3 is similar to Rumba, although, because of the faster tempo, it is completed fractionally later on a forward step taken on beat 2 when followed by a backward step, or on a backward step taken on beat 2 when followed by a forward step. When dancing, for example, the first or sixth step of the Basic Movement it is useful to count '2 and a', completing the action during the last part of the beat on the 'a' count.

Although the first step of each figure is taken on the second beat of music (count 2) the dance is commenced with the hips already moving on the preceding beats 4 1. This is normally achieved by taking a preliminary step to the side or by changing the weight to the opposite foot on beats 4 1.

Turn Out:

There is a natural turn out of the foot on backward and side steps. The amount of turn out will be approximately 1/16th to 1/8t depending on the dancer's own physique. This turn out also occurs on a forward step when the forward movement is checked and followed by a weight change to the back foot, for example step 1 of Closed Basic Movement. On other forward steps the tracking of the moving foot is straighter, and as the weight is taken onto the front foot the back foot is allowed to turn out naturally.


Cha Cha Cha Closed Syllabus


1. Basic Movements (Closed, Open, & In Place)

2. New York

3. Spot Turn

4. Shoulder to Shoulder

5. Hand to Hand

6. Three Cha Cha Chas

7. Side Steps

8. There and Back

9. Time Steps


1. Fan

2. Alemana

3. Hockey Stick

4. Natural Top

5. Natural Open Out Movement

6. Closed Hip Twist


1. Open Hip Twist

2. Reverse Top

3. Opening Out from Reverse Top

4. Aida

5. Spiral Turns (Spiral, Curl, & Rope Spinning)

6. Cross Basic

7. Cuban Breaks

8. Chase


1. Advanced Hip Twist

2. Hip Twist Spiral

3. Turkish Towel

4. Sweetheart

5. Follow My Leader

6. Foot Changes


Bronze Class Choreography

1. Open Basic (234&1, 234&1))

2. Alemana (234&1)

3. Closed Hip Twist into Fan (234&1, 234&1)

4. Hockey Stick (234&1, 234&1)

5. 3 Cha Cha Chas Forward (4&1, 2&3, 4&1)

6. First Half of Open Basic (234&1)

7. Natural Top (234&1, 234&1, 234&1)

8. Natural Opening Out (234&1)

9. Second Half of Closed Basic 1/4 Turn L (234&1)

10. New York in LSP (234&1)

11. 3 Cha Cha Chas Forward  in RSP (4&1, 2&3, 4&1)

12. New York in RSP (234&1)

13. 3 Cha Cha Chas in LSP (4&1, 2&3, 4&1)

14 Man: Spot Turn, Lady: Time Step (234&1)

15. Man: Time Step, Lady: Spot Turn (234&1)

16. There and Back (234&1, 234&1)

17. LF Side Steps (234&1)

18. Hand to Hand LSP (234&1)

19. 2 Spot Turns (234&1, 234&1)

20. Fan (234&1, 234&1)

21. Alemana (234&1, 234&1)




Silver Class Choreography

1. Open Basic (Man starts back on 2) (234&1)

2. Open Hip Twist Ending in Open Position (234&1, (234&1)

3. Closed Basic (234&1)

4. Man: Time Step; Lady: Cuban Break  (&34&1)

5. Man: Cuban Break; Lady: Time Step (&34&1)

6. Cuban Breaks (2&3&4&1)*

7. New York LSP (234&1)

8. Under Arm Turn (234&1)

9. Closed Hip Twist (234&1)

10. 4-6 Fan (234&1)

11. Hockey Stick (234&1, 234&1)

12. 3 Cha Cha Chas Forward (2&3, 4&1)

13. Chase (234&1, 234&1, 234&1, 234&1)

14. Open Hip Twist ending in CP (234&1, 234&1)

15. 6-10 Reverse Top, Spiral on 1 (234&1)

16. Aida with Spot Turn Ending (234&1, 234&1, 234&1)

17. Cross Basic Guapacha Timing (&3 4&1, &3 4&1)

18. Hand to Hand RSP (234&1)

19. New York RSP (234&1)

20. Curl (234&1, 234&1)

21. Alemana (234&1, 234&1)

22. Rope Spinning (234&1, 234&1)

23. Man: LF Cuban Break, Lady: RF Cuban Break (2&3&4&1)

24. Man:RF Cuban Break, Lady LF Cuban Break (2&3&4&1)

25. Split Cuban Break (2&3&4&1)

26. New York LSP (234&1)

27. Alemana into Open Basic (234&1)


*Cuban Breaks is replaced Syncopated New Yorkers, but is then not considered legal in syllabus competition


Cha Cha Choreography Demonstrations

Newcomer Cha Cha:

View 1, View 2

Silver Cha Cha:

View 1, View 2




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