The cha cha cha is my favourite in ballroom dancing right now. I love the music, speed and expression of this dance. I love the way that we can combine the cha cha with the rumba in one song.
As far as I can see the footwork and technique of the cha cha dance are the same as the rumba. We take small-sized steps with turned out feet and legs. I have been taught to stand tall and lean forward slightly, so the whole time I feel like that I might fall over face first.
Basic Cha Cha Dance Steps
This video shows the basic Cha Cha Cha steps:
What To Do With Our Feet
Basically, we step with the ball of our foot in contact with the floor, and then we lower our heel until the weight is fully transferred. When we take the weight from a foot, the heel comes up from the floor first, allowing our toe to maintain contact with the floor.
I find it really helps to count out in a strong voice the steps: “1-2-3-cha-cha-1-2-3-cha-cha” or “1-2-3-4-and-1-2-3-4-and”. The latter counting is better as I have found it helps learn more complicated patterns later on.
Welcome To Your Hips: The Cuban Motion
The cha cha requires a lot of hip motion. This is how dancers make it expressive. Now that we have learned the basic steps, we now need to focus on the action of the Cuban motion.
Keep in mind that in latin dances, it’s not really about the steps; it is about how we move.
Cuban motion comes from the alternate bending and straightening of our knees. As a knee bends, the same hip drops. As we straighten a knee, the same hip rises. Automatically, our hips move up and down. It is vital that we make sure that we don’t twist the hips in an effort to achieve Cuban motion. If the cuban motion is new for you gentlemen: welcome to your hips!
This video shows how to do the cuban motion:
Music for Cha Cha Cha
The cha cha requires very small steps because of its rhythm. In ballroom dancing, the music of the cha cha cha tends to be energetic with a steady beat. Here are some examples:
- Does Your Mother Know? – Abba
- Sex Bomb – Reload – Mousse T & Tom Jones
- I Wanna Dance – Afro-Disiac- Willy Chirino
- Kiss Me Honey Honey – Shirley Bassey
- You spin me round – Dead or Alive
- I’m gonna getcha good – Shania Twain
- Chelo Cha Cha
Dancesport offers a list of more cha cha songs.
What We Are Aiming For
Now that you have learned and practiced the basic steps, footwork and cuban motion, it is time to see how to really move your hips in this video: