Learn to dance the Cha Cha: The basics

Cha-Cha-danceThe Cuban cha cha dance is one of the most versatile styles of dancing today. The dance first became popular in 1954 and it was developed from the Mambo and it has since become a very popular social dance amongst different age groups worldwide.

Similar to most Latin dances, the Cha Cha is danced with the feet close to the floor (known as toe steps) and the dancers hips are loose and relaxed, allowing the body to follow the foot moves. If you want to learn to dance the Cha Cha correctly, then it is of crucial importance that you take the time to fully understand the musical timing of the dance, for if you ignore this you will run into problems when trying to dance a fast paced Cha Cha.

Before you get started learning to dance the Cha Cha, there are a few basic core principles with regards to your dance posture that you need to bear in mind at all times if you want to be a successful Cha Cha dancer.


When you take a step, no matter in which direction, you should always start with the ball of your foot firmly in contact with the floor space you are dancing on. You then lower your heel as soon as your weight has been entirely transferred.

It is important to note that when you release the weight from either foot, you should always release your heel first, which allows your toe to always maintain contact with the floor.

Hip Movement

Typical Latin Hip movement is mastered correctly through alternately bending and straightening your knees. When you are dancing following the International Latin dance style, you should always remember to keep your weighted leg straight.

You then have the ability to bend your free leg, which allows your hips to naturally follow the direction of your weighted leg. As soon as you take a step, your free leg straightens right before you put any weight on it. You should then keep it straight until there is absolutely no weight on it again.

This video explains the basic dance posture and moves of the Cha Cha in better detail.

Your Dance Position

 When it comes to any type of Latin dance, you should always ensure that you are standing upright holding your weight forwards at a slight incline towards the balls of your feet. This is known as the basic Latin hold and it is supposed to be a compact stance, allowing dance partners to stand very slightly apart.

The female partners right hand and the males left hand should be joined in what’s known as an  “upper-hand clasp” that sits roughly at the female’s eye level. The male partner’s right hand should be lightly placed on his partner’s shoulder blade, and her left arm should be resting comfortably on his right arm.

This then results in a dance “frame” that is not only sturdy, but gives the sense of connection and fluidity.