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    Timing - Cha Cha


    Like most modern music, Cha Cha music is 4/4 time (4 beats to a bar of music, and therefore four dance steps to a bar of music.The fourth beat of the music screams for you to step side and close - this step, with the drag of the foot side, then the drag of the foot to close, produces the characteristic Cha Cha sound, from which the name of the dance is derived.

    Some teachers count the Cha Cha movement as slow, slow, quick-quick, slow but this can be confusing to the beginner. Its probably better to think of the movement as Rock, Rock, Side-Close, Side.

    In most Latino dances, you commence your steps on the 2nd beat of the music and change weight from one leg to another between the beats. In Cha Cha your feet only move on the 1st, 2nd and 4th beats. The change of weight which gives the dance its look and feel occurs half way through the 1st and 2nd beats, on the 3rd beat, half way through the 4th beat and on the 1st beat.

    Counting from the 2nd beat of the music, my preferred count is 2 & 3, Cha-Cha, 1 - check out the section on the basic movements and this will become meaningful.

    There are two parts to timing. The first is the static metronome beat that flows through an entire track and dictates when to move your feet. The other is the tempo of the music itself. Itís the tempo, that times the length of a dance step, the duration of a pause or how fast you should make a turn/spin and itís the tempo that tells you what move to do when. Understanding what to do with the tempo will make you a good Cha Cha dancer.

    You can't mistake a Cha Cha beat in a song. You hear two slow beats and three quick. Its the quick beats that you move side and close, cha cha cha.




    Dance Survial Guides...

    Basic Dance Steps - Cha Cha


    There are two basic movements to the Cha Cha - the Forward Basic Movement and the Back Basic Movement. Variously coupled or combined and often with small variations in body position, these two movements create the Cha Cha moves. A move is loosely defined as any sequence of eight steps. When you combine the two basic movements, they make up the eight steps of the first move, the Forward Basic.

    The Lady facing the man, will perform steps complimenting his. So if the man moves his left foot forward, the lady will move her right foot back and visa versa. This is very sensible. Otherwise, the man would probably tread on her!

    In the Forward Basic Move, the man will perform the Forward Basic Movement, followed by the Back Basic Movement. Whereas, the Lady will do the exact opposite. She will perform the Back Basic Movement, followed by the Forward Basic Movement.

    Another important move is the Back Basic. All the fancy moves originate from it! Basically it is the performance of the Back Basic Movement twice. On the first step, the man steps back onto his left foot mirroring the woman's movements. After completing the first movement, both the man and woman step back. The man needs to push away from the Lady to stop her from stepping forward.



    Back Basic Movement The Cha Cha Forward Basic Movement
    Right, Rock Back, on the 2nd beat of the music. Slide your Right foot Back and change weight onto the Right leg. Don't move your Left foot!

    Left, Rock Forward. Change weight onto the Left leg. Don't move your Right foot.

    Right, Side and Close. Step forward side-right changing weight onto the Right leg. As you change weight onto the Right leg, drag your Left foot to close. Don't change weight onto the left leg.

    Right, Side. Change weight onto the Left leg, and step the Right foot to the side (side-right) and change weight onto the Right leg. Don't move your Left foot!

    You are now ready to do the forward movement.

    Left, Rock Forward, on the 2nd beat of the music. Toe first, slide your Left foot Forward and change weight onto the Left leg. Don't move your Right foot!

    Right, Rock Back. Change weight onto the Right leg. Don't move your Left foot.

    Left, Side and Close. Step back side-left and change weight on the Left leg. As you change weight onto the Left leg, drag your Right foot to close. Don't change weight onto the right leg yet.
    Left, Side. Change weight onto the right leg, and step the left foot to the side (side-left) and change weight onto the Left leg. Don't move your Right foot!

    You are now ready to do the back movement.







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    Want to know something more about Latin StreetDance
    click on one of the followng


    Dance History
    Mambo, Cha Cha & Salsa | Merengue | Samba

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    This page was last updated November 2000
    copyright Paul F Clifford (2000)