Cha-Cha (or Cha-Cha-Cha) is variation of two other dances, it is a derivative of Mambo through its Latin music and it is also a stepchild of Swing/Lindy, as it is danced with a triple step and a break.
In 1953 a new syncopated beat that sounded like a slow Mambo was played by the Cuban Orchestra “America”. This new rhythm inspired Cuban dancers to move their hips in time to this new series of beats on the slow count. Gradually this hip movement was changed to a triple step on the slow count and the Cha-Cha was born. In 1954 this new dance form made its way to the United States, and by 1959 Americans were in a frenzy over the Cha-Cha, with many dance studios reporting it to be their most popular dance. The movement involving the hips and feet is a great opportunity to “feel the floor” and really show sassiness and a sense of style. Cha-Cha is still one of the most popular of the Latin dances in the United States today.
It is very important to understand the musical timing of Cha-Cha to dance it correctly. Cha-Cha Music is usually played in 4/4 time and counted: 1, 2, 3, 4, & or an easy way to remember it is: 1,2,3, Cha, Cha (a Cha is 1/2 beat).