The Cha Cha is one of the most popular dances in the United States and around the world, and likely the most popular of the social Latin dances. Its energetic, infectious rhythm makes it a playful sort of dance, one that encourages everyone to cut loose and hit the dance floor. It is one of the core dances here at the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford.
Developed in Cuba in the late 1940s by a man named Enrique Jorrín, the Cha Cha actually began as a derivative of the Mambo and Rumba. Jorrín, a violinist and composer, had noticed that some crowds had difficulties with the irregular rhythm of the Triple Mambo (the Danzon-Mambo). So to try to help and appeal to more dancers, he began composing songs where the melody was marked strongly on the first downbeat and the rhythm was less syncopated. The new rhythm was nearly an immediate hit and was named for the cha-cha-cha sound the dancers’ feet would make during their triple-step.
In 1953, the orchestra Jorrín worked with released the first two Cha Chas to be recorded, “La Engañadora” and “Silver Star”. By 1955, the songs and new style had hit Mexico, the United States, and most of Europe, resulting in a Cha Cha craze that mirrored the Mambo fever that had swept the dancing world just a few years prior.
Today, there are two types of the Cha Cha taught by Arthur Murray Dance Studios around the world: the International style and the Rhythm style. The more common of the two is Rhythm style. It’s fast-paced and fun, but with an earthy feeling to it, and is very popular with dance students even today. Rhythm Cha Cha is characterized by bent knees, whereas International style features straight leg actions; the difference between the two in competitive levels is nearly imperceptible.
You too could learn this fun dance style and weigh in on the debate between the two! Sign up for your complimentary first lesson today with us here at Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford to learn the Cha Cha and many more dances.