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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Cha Cha Cha
Cha Cha Picture

Cha Cha Title for Streetswings Cha Cha Dance History    The Cha-Cha or Triple Mambo is basically a triple rhythm Mambo (3 step rhythm to two beats of music, usually slower) done in 4/4 time, around 126 beats per minute. The dance may have been introduced to the world by a British dance teacher 'Pierre Leville' who noticed that the Rumba was occasionally danced with a couple of extra steps.

   He brought the idea back with him to Europe around 1952. Music wise

in 1953 the Cuban dance orchestra "America" in Havana, started playing the Danzon' with a new syncopated beat, which was alot like that earlier beat, which sounded like a slow mambo. Later it was learned in 1954

that Enrique Jorrin, also of the band "America," was said to create the full version of Cha-Cha back in 1948 by mixing the Danzon and Montuno music together while touring in the U.S. (some say Mexico). Basically he just called the dance cha-cha after the shuffle he heard in the music. The Cha-Cha and Rumba are related to the Mambo (salsa) Dance. The above clip shows an early "Triple Mambo".

   Cuban Mambo dancers would add a slight triple hip movement to this syncopation which eventually was replaced by a triple step rhythm. The Cha-Cha was introduced to the United States in 1954 and by 1959 the U.S. was Cha-Cha crazy. The Cha Cha has the same rhythm as the Lindy (8 counts) such as 1-2/3&4/5-6/7&8. The words Cha-Cha hail from certain plants, producing seed pods in the West Indies called Cha-Cha (in Spanish means nursemaid.) These seed pods are used to make a small rattle called a Cha- Cha (maracas.) This instrument is used kinda like a metronome by certain bands.

    The Guaracha was a Theater dance originating in the late 1800's from Cuba or Spain, and was done in 3/8 time. It was danced by one person, accompanied by the guitar which some report was the precursor to the Cha-Cha. There are Sheet Music covers and a few stage plays done in the 1930's which may have some connection to the Cha-Cha as well. Cha-Cha became popular around 1955 in the USA. The Pachanga replaced the Cha-Cha in popularity. Basic Step description at
bottom of page.

    The dance can be known as Triple Mambo or Cha-Cha-Cha however it's official name is Cha-Cha. Basically it would have a simple breakdown of Rumba = Single Rhythm | Mambo = Double Rhythm | Cha Cha = Triple Rhythm Latin dance. So you could use all the same patterns from one dance to the other by just switching rhythms. However, each of these three dances have a completely different look and feel.


Birth Place

Creation Date

Creator

Dance Type

Cuba / America 1948 (1952) Via Cubans (Enrique Jorrin & Pierre Leville) Latin
       
 

Posters etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Video Clips (pop-up)

Various Cha -Cha Compilation CD's

n/a 1932 - The Machacha Song video clip is not available at this time Oye Como Va: The Dance Collection [CD]
      1933 - Down The Old Road Song video clip is not available at this time Latin Dance Party, Vol. 3 [CD]
      1934 - The Ha-Cha-Cha Song video clip is not available at this time Latin Dance Party, Vol. 4 [CD]
      1954 - Cha Cha Cha (Lucille Ball) Song video clip is not available at this time Let's Dance the Cha Cha Cha [CD]
        Song video clip is not available at this time The Best of Tito Puente [CD]
            Song video clip is not available at this time  
 
Video Clips (pop-up)

Various Unusual Cha Songs

Video Clips (pop-up)

Various Unusual Cha Songs

Video Clips (pop-up)

Vintage Cha Cha Music

Song video clip is not available at this time 1931 - MuChaCha?
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Marihuana Cha Cha - Provenzo
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Cha Cha Cha - Tito Puente
Song video clip is not available at this time 1934 - Hot-Cha Chiquita ? Song video clip is not available at this time Por Favor (Maxwell)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Cha Cha Cha Señorita - Trío Raisner & Harmonica
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
1950's - Cha Cha Cha - Josephine Baker
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Rock & Roll Cha Cha Cha - Ramón Márquez
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Cha Cha Guere - Celia Cruz (Mambo)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
1955 - La Cumprasita Trio Los Paraguayos
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Rockin' the cHA cHA (Alan Dale | Maxwell)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Cocktails For Two - Jerry Murad
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
1957 - Cha Cha Girl(上官清华跳恰恰)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
St. Louis Blues Cha Cha (Francis Bay Orch.)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Guajira Cubana - Sexteto La Playa
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
1957 - Chinese Cha-Cha-Cha (Alfredito & His Orch.)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Wild Weekend Cha-Cha - Rockin Rebels
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Let's Dance ChaChaCha - Cuban ChaCha Orch.
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
1959 - Abdul the BulBul Amir (Mudlarks) catchy tune
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
St. Louis Blues Cha Cha (Francis Bay Orch.)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Los Marcianos Llegaron Ya - Orquesta America
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
1962 - ChaCha On The Moon - Pat Reader
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Wild Weekend Cha-Cha - Rockin Rebels
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Moulin Rouge - Edmundo Ros
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
1965 - Mexican Pearls - Billy Vaughn (Hawaiian Cha) Song video clip is not available at this time  
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Oye Como Va!
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Cha Cha Cha Chabela    
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Perhaps - Enoch Light Orchestra
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Cha Cha Slide (Line Dance)    
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Piropo - Silma Moreno
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Dracula .. Drak Cha Cha (Tango Saloon) Video Clips (pop-up)

More Modern Cha Cha Songs

Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Ramona cha cha cha - Bebo Valdés
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
I Feel Good Cha Cha (James Brown version)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Cha Cha - Chelo (Modern)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Teach Me To Night Cha Cha - Pia Beck
Song video clip is not available at this time Martian Cha Cha Cha (La Playa Sextet)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Cha Cha Slide (Line Dance)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Temptation - Pepe Jaramillo
Song video clip is not available at this time Por Favor (Maxwell)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
Chilly Cha Cha - Jessica Jay    
Song video clip is not available at this time Martian Cha Cha Cha (La Playa Sextet)
Song Video Clip (Pop-up window)
I Feel Good Cha Cha (James Brown version)    
 

Night Clubs

Theaters

Locations

Ali Baba n/a Haiti
Aaragon Ballroom (1956 TX)   Cuba
Barcelona Cafe (1958 Proiette)   USA
Dicken's Room (1958)   West Indies
El Morraco    
Palladium    
Roseland Ballroom        
Rudy's Inn (La Canada, CA)        
Savoy Ballroom        
             
 
Video Clips (pop-up)

Films

Television

Stage

Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1933 - College Humor 1984 - Routes of Rhythm 1932 - Hot - Cha?
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1934 - Caravan 1993 - Cha Cha Cha 1934 - Caravan
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1935 - In Caliente' 1995 - Tango, mambo et cha-cha-cha 1934 - Keep Moving?
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1947 - Angels or Demons (Pons)    
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1950 - ?Chá?    
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1951 - El gavilán pollero (Triple Mambo)    
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1952 - Salón de baile        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1955 - Bailando cha cha cha        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1955 - Las Viudas del cha cha cha        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1955 - Qué lindo Cha Cha Cha        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1955 - World of Suzy Wong (Nancy Kwan)        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1956 - Cha-Cha-Cha-Boom        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1956 - El Vividor (Cha Cha Cha)        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1957 - Cha Cha Girl        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1956 - La Engañadora (Jorrin)        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1957 - Bambalinas (full film)        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1957 - Mambo Girl (Grace Chang teaches Cha)        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1958 - Maratón de baile (Jorrin)        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1958 - Mi desconocida esposa (Jorrin)        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1959 - Girls for the Mambo-Bar (Prado)        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1964 - Cha Cha Cha        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1981 - Cha Cha Cha        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1988 - Salsa [DVD] (Puente)        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1989 - Cha Cha Cha        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1992 - Mambo Kings [DVD] (Puente)        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1998 - Cha-Cha-Chá        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. Son Sabroson 1 - History [DVD]        
Not Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. Son Sabroson 2 - History [DVD]        
 

Other Dances or Related of the time...

Bolero Flamenco Merenconga Salsa (see Mambo)
Bop Guapacha Merengue Son
Bossa-Nova Guaracha Mexican Hat Dance Stroll
Calypso / Chalypso La Cucaracha Montuno Spanish Dance
Carioca Latin Dance Pachanga Tamborito
Charanga Limbo Dance Rumba Tango
Conga Mambo Samba Twist, the
Danzon' Madison Dance (1960)    
Fandango      
 

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Publisher
n/a n/a   n/a
 

Musicians / Singers, etc.

Bands

Magazine Publications

Dámaso Pérez Prado (1916-1989) America 9/1958 - Sepia Mag.
Caballón (Ramón Emilio Valdés Amaro Dionisio) Art Mooney & His Big Band 8/1960 - Ballroom Dance Mag.
Celia Cruz (10/21/1925 - 7/16/2003) Cha Cha Boys 9/1960 - Ballroom Dance Mag.
Cuban Mambo Boys Fred Sateriale Band 12/1960 - Ballroom Dance Mag.
Dean Martin Orquesta Cosmopolita De Cuba      
Enrique Jorrin Pedro Garcia & his Del Prado Orchestra

Newspaper Publications

Enrique Montoya Tommy Dorsey Band 10/7/1933 - Hammond Times (Ha Cha San)
Edyie Gorme Xavier Cugat Orchestra 6/27/1935 - Hammond Times - (Margo - Ha Cha Cha)
Ernest Anthony Puente (1923-2001)       6/23/1955 - Southern Economist (Triple Rhythm Mambo)
Jack Costanzo       8/18/1955 - Reno Gazette (Tarzan & Turner Learns Cha Cha)
Jose Curbelo and His Quintet.       10/21/1955 - Odessa American (Nancy Kwan does Cha)
La Playa Sextet (c1958)       12/13/1956 - Charleston Gazette (Couple do Cha)
Laurindo Almeida       3/7/1957 - Chronicle-Telegram (Tamborito & Cha)
Machito, Perez Prado, Tito Puente etc       5/9/1957 - Daily Review (YMCA Cha Class Adv)
Rene Touzet and the Cha Cha Rhythm Boys       1/10/1959 - Oakland Tribune (New Way to Teach Cha)
Richard Maltby       3/5/1959 - Fitchburg Sentinel (about the Cha Cha)
Tom Jobim (CHÁ DANÇANTE-1956)       11/3/1959 - Independent (Anita Elkberg)
        6/15/1960 - Oakland Tribune (America #1 in dance)
 

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

tcha - tcha Kwa-Kwa Latin guiro (Musical Instrument)
Pachucko Zoot Suit Latino Bailar Baile      
Afro-Cuban jazz              
 

Basic Step description: (American Style Sideways and/or Forward/Back, International Style is basically done Sideways.)

  • Partners face each other. Leader starts with left foot, Follower starts with right foot. Side Qk. Steps are same direction as foot used.
    Basic ballroom hold. Followers do opposite in below. Dance is rock (like a rocking chair motion) or break on 1 or 2... depending!

  • Note: "Cha-Cha-Cha" below is three fully weighted quick steps either < side to side > or forward and back. Slow=1 beat, Quick = 1/2 beat. Side steps can be Forward/Back: Backwards steps replace side steps for Lt and Forward steps replacing side steps on Rt as well during the three Cha-Cha-Cha's

Breaking on count One

Fwd Rock Back
Step
Step Side Together Step Side Back
Rock
Step Fwd Step Side Together Side
1 2 3 and 4 5 6 7 and 8
Step Step Cha Cha Cha Step Step Cha Cha Cha
LT RT LT RT LT RT LT RT LT RT
Slo Slo Qk Qk Qk Slo Slo Qk Qk Qk
(for the break on One).
Counted 1-2--3&4-5-6--7&8...
[Leaders start: step forward with left foot on count one, then back with Right foot on two, Followers step back with right, forward with left]. (Cha-Cha hip action is actually on rock step but can start with Cha-Cha-Cha).
Street version: 1st step is done in place. Occasionally the dance is forward and back, instead of side to side.  
 

Breaking on count Two

Step Side
Fwd
Rock
Back
Step
Step Side
Together
Step Side
Back Rock
Step
Fwd
Step Side
Together
(1) 2 3 4 and 1 2 3 4 and
Cha! Step Step Cha Cha Cha Step Step Cha Cha -
RT LT RT LT RT LT RT LT RT LT -
Slo Slo Slo Qk Qk Qk Slo Slo Qk Qk -
(for the break on Two).
Counted (1) 2-3--4&1- 2-3--4&1...
[Leaders start: side step with right foot on 1, then Fwd. on count two for rock. Followers step side with left on 1, Right foot back on count two]. (Cha-Cha hip action is actually on rock step but can start with Cha-Cha-Cha).