Latin American dances are popular all over the world, but were introduced to Europe and America in the 1920s. Dances such as Mambo, Rumba and Cha Cha Cha are a fusion of the many cultures in Latin America. Original European and African influences are heard in the music and seen in the dance in countries like Cuba. As Europeans settled in Latin America and imported salvos from different parts of West Africa, cultures blended to create a unique music magazine.
In 1948, the music played by Enrique Jorrin, who played with the band America, combined two Cuban rhythms: danzon and montuno. Jorrin called the new rhythm ‘cha cha’ because of the swinging sound you can hear in the music. A few years later (1953) he composed and recorded ‘Enganadora’, meaning ‘The Cheat.’
The song became popular in Cuba and Latin America. Cha Cha Cha soon spread to the United States, and other songs soon followed. The captivating sound was easy to translate into other forms of music, and small combinations for large bands began to play Cha Cha Cha and feed the new musician.
Despite the fast pace Cha Cha Cha only takes up a small area of the dance floor. Paul Bottomer, author of ‘Let’s Dance!’ Claims that Cha Cha Cha originally started as a variety of Mambo and Rumba. But with Jorrin’s new sound, the dance soon had its own character.
Dance teacher Pierre Zurcher-Margolle (‘Monsieur Pierre’) is credited with the modern style of Cha Cha Cha dance. Pierre, from London, visited Cuba in 1952 to find out how and what Cubans danced then.
He noticed that the new dance had a fragmented fourth beat and dancing, one started on the second beat, not the first. He collaborated with the well-known dancer Doris Lavelle and eventually created what is now known as ballroom Cha Cha Cha.
Couple dancing together and facing each other. Both parties must dance forward and backward during the dance.
In the basic Cha Cha Cha, the lead (man) takes a forward step with the left foot holding some weight on the right foot, The knee on the right leg must be straight and close to the back of the left knee, the left leg is straight just before the weight change. This step is taken on the second bar of the bar. Full weight returns to the right leg in the second step (beat three.) The fourth beat is divided into two, and the count of the next three steps is 4-and-1. These three steps form the basic Cha Cha Cha Chasse.
Like most Latin dances, partners combine the hip movement to the beat with the steps.
Cha Cha Cha is probably the most popular of all Latin American dances, according to Bottomer. Its popularity is largely due to the introduction of the Cha Cha Cha rhythm in American big band music. Cha Cha Cha is performed during dance salon competitions. Cha Cha Cha is a Cuban dance and one of the most popular social American dances. The dance is similar to Mambo and Rumba. The fourth beat of the 4/4 time signature is split to create the 2, 3, 4 and 1 Cha Cha Cha rhythms. The first beat is accentuated and the tempo is slightly faster than Rumba.