The Cha Cha Cha (we just call it Cha Cha) is a flirty dance with fast footwork using the famous count of 1-2 Cha Cha Cha! It’s catchy rhythm makes it a favorite among dancers.
Cha Cha is a dance developed to showcase what had been a variation of mambo. Mambo arose out of the combination of American jazz music and Cuban rumba rhythm and was danced on the off beat rather than the down beat of a measure of music. Some say that one of many steps in mambo was called the “chatch” and involved 3 quick steps preceded by two normal steps. Over the course of a decade between the 1940s and 1950s the cha cha grew from that one step in mambo. Others report that American swing jazz and lindy dancing introduced the idea of a triple step to Latin dancers, and that in very slow mambo music, a triple count could be heard or felt, and dancers began marking it with a subtle sway of the hips that eventually became three full steps. In either case, it is agreed that the dance took off in the 1950s and became immensely popular worldwide. There are different accounts of how cha cha got its name as well, as both the words mambo and cha cha have meaning and significance in West Indies languages and cultures that practice voodoo. There is a plant producing seeds called cha cha. Voodoo musicians used the seeds for a rattle also called a cha cha in performing religious music, and some say the name of the dance came from this rattle. Alternately, it has been suggested that the name cha cha, sometimes called cha cha cha, comes from the sound the feet make on the floor as dancers perform the triple step that characterizes the dance.