Cha Cha Dancing

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The basic footwork pattern of cha-cha-cha (one, two, three, cha-cha-one, two, three) is also found in several Afro-Cuban dances from the Santeria religion. For example, one of the steps used in the dance practiced by the Orisha ethnicity’s Ogun religious features an identical pattern of footwork. These Afro-Cuban dances predate the development of cha-cha-cha, and were known by many Cubans in the 1950s, especially those of African origin. Thus, the footwork of the cha-cha-cha was likely inspired by these Afro-Cuban dances.

Styles of cha-cha-cha dance may differ in the place of the chasse in the rhythmical structure. The original Cuban and the ballroom cha-cha-cha count is “one, two, three, cha-cha”, or “one, two, three, four-and.” A “street version” comes about because many social dancers count “one, two, cha-cha-cha” and thus shift the timing of the dance by a full beat of music. Note that the dance known as Salsa is the result of a similar timing shift of Mambo.



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