Cha Cha is a dance of Cuban origin, and derives its name from the rhythm developed by a syncopation of the fourth beat. 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. Much has been written about the history of the Rumba and the Mambo, while little has been explored about the origins of Cha Cha, despite it being a dance to be reckoned with.
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.