How to dance the chacha

Learn Basic Cha Cha Steps

Cha cha is a fun, flirtatious dance with playful energy. It's a blend of other Latin dances, especially mambo and rumba. The major difference between cha cha and mambo/rumba is a triple step (cha cha cha) that replaces the slow step.

  • Basic steps
  • Instructions & Diagrams
  • Video
  • Recommended Video Lessons »

Quick intro

Cha cha is widely recognizable by its catchy rhythm – one, two, cha, cha, cha. It's easy to learn and fun to dance.

Like so many Latin dances, it originates from Cuba. It was developed by the Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrin in the middle of 1950s. Originally it was known as a slowed-down mambo or "the triple mambo", because of the three quick steps. It gained instant popularity due to its simplicity. In time it evolved into a separate dance and although it was originally known as the cha-cha-cha, the name was shortened to the cha-cha.

Did you know: Bruce Lee, the famous movie star and one of the greatest legends in martial arts, was also an accomplished Latin dancer. He won the Hong Kong Cha Cha Championship in 1958, when he was 18 years old.

Cha cha can be danced to almost any music with a good beat, from traditional Latin rhythms to club music, from country to pop. It's popularity can be heard in the music of Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Tom Jones, Carlos Santana, and many others. Cha cha is very much a dance of today.

Basic steps

Cha cha music is composed in 4/4 time (four beats to a bar of music). For each bar of music there are 2 slow and 3 quick steps, which may be counted as – one, two, cha, cha, cha or step, step, step, quick step, quick step. The footwork is simple and mostly focuses on just shifting weight from one foot to another.

Remember, five steps are taken to four beats of music. Also don't forget that the movements tend to be somewhat flirtatious. This is definitely a party dance!

Instructions & Diagrams:

Partners face each other. Gentleman starts with the left foot, lady starts with the right foot. Basic ballroom hold.

Basic Side Step for Men

  1. Sidestep to the left with your left foot
  2. Step backward & left with your right foot
  3. Left foot in place, weight shifts to it
  4. Sidestep to the right with your right foot
  5. Move your left foot to your right foot
  6. Sidestep to the right with your right foot
  7. Step forward & right with your left foot
  8. Right foot in place, weight shifts to it
  9. Sidestep to the left with your left foot
  10. Move your right foot to your left foot

Basic Side Step for Women

  1. Sidestep to the right with your right foot
  2. Step forward & right with your left foot
  3. Right foot in place, weight shifts to it
  4. Sidestep to the left with your left foot
  5. Move your right foot to your left foot
  6. Sidestep to the right with your left foot
  7. Step backward & left with your right foot
  8. Left foot in place, weight shifts to it
  9. Sidestep to the right with your right foot
  10. Move your left foot to your right foot


In this video Leon and Kim will first show you the basic step done "in place" and then with the side step:

more videos »

OK, now that we have the basic steps under our belt, let's explore further. In the following video Jaimee and Mark will show you the whole range of cha cha figures, starting, of course, with the basic:

Where to go next?

As you've seen in the second video, there's a lot that cha cha has to offer. To get to that next level we recommend these video lessons »

Learn to Dance Cha Cha

Dance InsanityCha Cha

Can you learn the basic ChaCha steps in 20 minutes? Just follow-along with this video tutorial to learn our top 10 Basic Cha Cha steps to get you going on the dance floor. Even if you’ve been dancing the Cha Cha for a while, this is still a really good tutorial to reinforce must-have techniques and skills. You definitely can pick up extra tips to spruce up your dance skills!

What you’ll learn in this Cha Cha lesson:

    1. Top 10 Basic Cha Cha steps for beginners
    2. Learn the Leader and follower parts separately
    3. Learn how to dance these 10 basic chacha steps with a partner.
    4. Simple partnering Techniques for Latin Ballroom dancing
    5. International Cha Cha Timing and rhythms
    6. A basic Cha Cha dance routine that you can practice with these 10 basic steps.
    7. How to dance to cha cha music

In addition, you’ll also be warned of common mistakes made in the Cha Cha, so you can start building good habits right away!

10 ChaCha Steps you’ll learn:

      1. Cha Cha Basic – 1:27  /CHACHA Timing – 2:12
      2. New Yorker – 3:02
      3. Under Arm Turn – 4:00
      4. Hand to Hand – 5:37
      5. Spot Turn – 7:00
      6. Shoulder to Shoulder – 9:47
      7. Runs – 11:13
      8. Basic in Place – 12:09
      9. Time Step – 13:43
      10. There and Back – 14:53
    1. Cha Cha Basic Routine for beginners (with counts): 16:10
    2. Cha Cha Basic Routine for beginners (with music & steplist): 18:13
    3. Cha Cha Basic Routine for beginners (with music): 19:11

For each of the above steps, you’ll learn:

A. What the step looks like with a partner
B. Leader’s part
C. Follower’s part
D. Timing of the step

At the end of the 10 steps, you’ll put it together into a routine and finally dance along with us to music! OH YEAH! Don’t panic. Slow Cha Cha music, of course.

There is no hurry for you to learn it all at once. Remember, repetition is key. There is a lot of information, and body awareness as well as muscle memory that is required for Partner dancing. So, take your time, create some goals for what you want and start moving!

What is easy? What is challenging for you? Leave us a comment below. And if you have any questions, we’re happy to answer them. 🙂

If you’ve mastered these 10 cha cha steps. What’s next?

For those who want a little more challenge after this, you can check out some other videos such as:

Cha Cha Basic Armstyling (Intermediate Tutorial)

Basic Cha Cha – Back Chasse/ Lock Step Details (Beginner Tutorial)

How to dance Cha Cha Turkish Towel 5 Ways (Advanced Tutorial)

Want to learn the basic more slow?

Start with this other Basic Cha Cha Compact Chasse Step for Beginners Tutorial instead – where Tytus shows you the absolute basic step very slowly. After you’ve done that, then come back to this tutorial. Remember, this is a new language. So, repetition is key, and move at the pace that works best for you. Most of all, have fun!

Cha Cha Technique Essentials Course

Get Fast Spins Course

Cha-cha-cha (Latin American dance program)

Principles of movement and basics of dance:

  • RHYTHM . Stocked rhythm. Fast and active dance. Isolation of the first, sometimes the first and third beats - brighter and more active. It's important to keep the timing. Cha cha cha step - timing - "I" - we bring out the thigh "A" - we bring out the leg "ONE". The timing for the syncopated CHA-CHA score is QuickQuick, followed by a slightly prolonged ONE or Slow score. - Syncopated cha cha count as quick quick and slow times is longer and wider.
  • Footwork and lower center . There should not be two bent knees, one knee or two straightened, with steps it is necessary to collect the legs and bring them out through the "brush", stretching the knee of the free leg from the supporting leg. Compression of the rib and thigh should occur simultaneously with the advance.
  • Upper center. Always keep the form in the top center - save the presentation.

- 2 level of dancing in cha-cha-cha: and and isolation are added - swing, rotation, stretching in the ribs.

Forward cha-cha-cha steps are performed from the toe, with the transition to the ball of the foot, then to the entire foot, the knee is fully extended, and the weight of the body is transferred to the supporting leg. Simultaneously with the straightening of the supporting leg, the heel of the free (from the weight of the body) leg rises, and the knee naturally bends, the ball of the foot touches the floor, you need to learn to “feel the floor”.

Steps back are performed first from the ball of the foot, then the toe and again to the ball of the foot with a further transition to the entire foot. The knee is fully extended and the weight of the body is transferred to the supporting leg. The free leg is slightly bent at the knee, remains in front in place, touching the floor with the ball of the foot.

When the weight of the body is transferred to the supporting leg, the steps are performed with pressure on the floor, and the knee of the leg is pushed back. In this case, the thigh of the supporting leg is extended to the side and back so that the position of the upper body remains unchanged. The movements of the hip girdle must be performed with a sense of proportion. Basically, the figures of the cha-cha-cha dance are performed without rises, falls and inclinations of the body.

When performing steps, the legs remain natural and turn the feet outward. Only in side steps are the feet parallel.

Basic step - Check and lock, lock step, highway:

- Change of legs - Offset of the chest, bending the knee and returning to a flat neutral position on I . The heels are light, the chest is slightly forward
- Back step - we transfer the weight of the body to the back leg but leave the upper center in front and perform stretching, we carry out a quick movement to "D" in the count of two.
- Forward step - When moving forward, the diagonal offset of the main part of the torso is used first.
- Check and Lock, lock step - stop defective step, hind leg with an emphasis on the floor with the big toe with the heel turned inward. Closed knees after the lockstep forward to the count and pull the knee like a bow and foot and take a step for once. We start with back replay. Fours - re, times (comma). Hip kick forward for one (fast pendulum).
- Side step, Highway - Preparation of the side and ribs in the direction of the side step. Highway to the side at a time, a step of medium length, so that there is an opportunity to work out, the foot of the supporting leg is approximately at the level of the ribs. Fast biting nature of the step. Pendulum movement in the hips. Foot culture - using the muscles of the buttocks and sliding the bent leg on the floor and straightening at the very last moment. Flick active offensive.

Impact in hands - starts in slow motion -acceleration -dot! A beautiful finished line, if the arm is to the side, then just below the shoulder.

Types of highway: main highway to the sides , time step chasse , compact chasse (change of feet), ronde of highway (start leg point forward, ronde, step behind, time step, count and 4 and 1), hip twist chasse (count and 4 and 1), slip close chasse, whisk chasse, merengue chasse (running highway forward), volta cross chasse (3 variants), 9 Chasse

Cuban breaks - obligatory swing action in the hips

Music rhythm exercise for beginners - stepping to the beat. Allocation of the account ONCE.
Heels on the floor and transition from foot to foot with rotation of the hips without lifting the heels.
Pelvic rotation - counter-movement of the shoulders and hips.
8 hips - feet on the floor.
Change of legs (Time step) - stretching of the knees and sides
Timing exercises for syncopated cha-cha counting.
Highway to the side - time step (with hip work - figure eight, compression of the shoulder blade and thigh)
Basic forward step (Lock step) - begins with back replace (back step), Cha-cha (comma) ONE - allocation of accounts, do not merge these accounts! In the check, the knees are stretched between themselves, the side is preparing for the execution of the next step, then an active attack, a hip forward kick.
Basic side step (hip up, sides, rotation)
Basic move (forward, backward, lock)
Close basic movement
Open basic movement
New York - . Repetition of New York in one direction, in 2 directions. Adding a clear position in the hands (to the diagonal, to the sides, forefingers, to the body). Stretched lines, wide chest.
Side dribble - step forward, lock - body straight, back side dribble.
Cuban breaks with rotation - Cuban breaks 2, rotation.

Routine 1 : back basic, hip-twist, highway compact, leg collection and the same on the other leg. 5-7 tracks
-2 types of work for timing and stretching - maximum filling on and

Routine 2: Beck basic, Hip twist, compact highway, check twist, rond, compact highway, spot turn, hip twist, highway compact, foot collection.

Cha-cha-cha - “dance of flirting” (video): learn the basic steps with Denis Tagintsev

Cha-cha-cha is the simplest and most playful dance in the Latin American ballroom dance program. By learning how to dance the cha-cha-cha, you will become more graceful and feel more relaxed with members of the opposite sex - it is not for nothing that it is also called the "dance of flirting. " You can plunge into the atmosphere of Latin American dances by subscribing to the AnySports online course for beginners, which starts very soon.

Cha-cha-cha dance lessons will be taught by world champion in Latin American dances, winner of the show "Dancing with the Stars" Denis Tagintsev. In the meantime, let's learn a little more about the dance and learn the basic cha-cha-cha steps.

The history of cha-cha-cha dance

“I want to create a special rhythm – not too fast, recognizable, memorable. And so that under him the legs themselves rushed to the dance! - said in the middle of the last century, the Cuban composer Enrique Horrin. It was he who created a new musical style that quickly penetrated all Cuban street cafes. His composition La enganadora combined the rhythms of rumba and mambo. This music to the cha-cha-cha dance has become popular all over the world.

There are several versions about the origin of the name of the cha-cha-cha dance: it came either from the name of musical instruments that set the rhythm of movements (they were made by plants called cha-cha), or from the guaracha dance (allegedly it was a mambo with guero - a rhythm that was danced to the sounds of a gourd instrument). However, the version about the imitation of the rhythm, which is set by the dancers' feet, in contact with the parquet, sounds more true.

Cha-cha-cha dance music

Cha-cha-cha is danced to music in both major and minor keys. Now the dance is performed to the songs of Latin American pop artists - almost any arrangement easily falls on this rhythm. The musical size of the dance is 4/4, and the rhythm is 120 beats per minute.


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Cha-cha for beginners hips. An important feature of the dance: it is performed in a small area, which means you can learn to dance even in a small kitchen!

The basic combination of cha-cha-cha is only five steps: we take a quick step with the right foot to the right, then - the prefix of the left foot to the right. Then - a slow step with the right foot to the right. At this point, the leg sharply straightens. Next, we draw the toe of the left foot along the parquet and put it in the “check” position, pushing the foot well. The fifth step is the slow transfer of weight to the right leg.

Cha-cha-cha dance (video). Basic Steps

In this lesson, you will learn two basic cha-cha-cha moves that will get you started dancing right away.

Become the goddess of the dance floor and catch admiring glances by studying the dance course with Denis Tagintsev.

Cha-cha-cha is a “cocotte dance”, that is, flirting in the dance movement, it involves a non-verbal dialogue with a partner. In girls, cha-cha-cha awakens grace and natural charm, teaches them to be light and at ease. For men, this dance will be useful, if not on the dance floor, then certainly like the legendary kung fu fighter and film actor Bruce Lee - in mastering the art of owning your body in principle.

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