If you would like to learn an exciting Latin dance, consider taking lessons to learn the Cha Cha. Originating from Cuba, this fun, flirtatious dance is popular for those beginning to take dance classes in Durham because it’s easy to learn, fun to do, and widely recognizable for it’s unique rhythmic triple step.

What Is the Cha Cha?

The Cha Cha is a lively dance performed in 4/4 time with steps that are performed precisely to the beat of the music, so it can be slow, staccato, and dramatic, or it can be fast-paced and light. The Cha Cha steps themselves are performed by two slow steps followed by three quick steps in a “one, two, cha-cha-cha” rhythm, and while the feet and hips are definitely active, it’s a very compact dance with the dancers primarily moving in place. In fact, their feet are seldom more than 12 inches apart and away from their starting point. However, some dancers enjoy adding more movement, spins, and steps to make it more exciting.

While the movements are simple, there is ample room for personalization and expression. This characteristic, more than any other, makes the Cha Cha a joy to dance for people of all ages. Most dancers find it easy to “let it all out” on the dance floor.

The History of the Cha Cha Dance

The Cha Cha was first developed by Cubin compser Enrique Jorrin in the 1950s from largely African influences, though some note its similarity to Swing dances. While it was originally thought of as a type of slowed-down Mambo, it rapidly grew in popularity and was eventually dubbed the “Cha-Cha-Cha” due to it’s triple-step rhythm, though it was soon shortened to simply the Cha Cha.  The dance grew in popularity under North American influence, fueled by popular music by artists such as Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez in the 1950s.

Basic Cha Cha Steps

While it’s a popular dance for professional dancers, the Cha Cha dance is a great starting point for beginners who want to learn Latin dances. The basic Cha Cha steps for men are:

  • Place the left foot to the side
  • Step back with the right
  • Shift weight back to the left foot
  • Triple step in place (cha-cha-cha)
  • Move the left forward
  • Shift weight to the right foot
  • Cha-cha-cha

For women, the basic Cha Cha dance steps are:

  • Put the right foot out to the side
  • Move forward with the left foot
  • Shift weight over to the right foot
  • Cha-cha-cha in place
  • Move the right foot back
  • Shift weight to the left foot
  • Cha-cha-cha in place


Here are some Fred Astaire students Cha Cha dancing:

Take Cha Cha Dance Classes in Durham Today!

Ready to learn how to do the Cha Cha? Give us a call at (919) 489-4313 or fill out the contact form below to schedule your first lesson! (New to Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Durham? Take advantage of our new student special!)

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