The Cha Cha Cha is one of the most popular of the Latin dances. The dance almost speaks for itself through the music where the beat of the ‘bongo’ drums and the ‘maracas’ seem to say Cha, Cha, Cha, Step, Step. The dance originally came from Cuba and its forerunner is the Mambo which is fast and more for the specialist.
The Cha Cha Cha was introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín in 1953 & rose to great popularity in the mid 1950s. The pause found in the Mambo was changed to a rapid triple step (chasse). This rhythm was developed from the danzón by a syncopation of the fourth beat. The modern style of dancing the cha-cha-chá comes from studies made by dance teacher Monsieur Pierre (Pierre Zurcher-Margolle), who partnered Doris Lavelle. Pierre visited Cuba in 1952 to find out how and what Cubans were dancing at the time. He noted that this new dance had a split fourth beat, and to dance it one started on the second beat, not the first. He brought this dance idea to England and eventually created what is now known as ballroom cha-cha-cha.
Cha-cha-cha may be either danced to authentic Cuban music, or Latin Pop or Latin Rock. The music for the international ballroom cha-cha-cha is energetic and with a steady beat. The Cuban cha-cha-chá is more sensual and may involve complex polyrhythms. Cha-cha-cha is one of the five dances of the “Latin American” program of international ballroom competitions.