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American Cha Cha Basic Step

Learn how to dance the Basic Step in American Cha Cha. 

How to dance the Cha Cha Basic

Timing

Cha Cha is danced to 4/4 timing and is counted as 1, 2, 3, 4-and. This equals one measure. The 1, 2 and 3 counts take a whole beat and the 4-and take a half beat.

Note: with many rhythm and latin dances it is common for the music emphasis to be placed on the 2 beat

The Cha Cha basic takes 2 measures to complete.

Leader’s Footwork:

Front half of basic:

Starting in closed dance position – Left foot to the side, Right foot back for a rocking action and then replace weight back on left foot. (count: 1, 2, 3)

Next you will do a side chasse to the right. This involves stepping right foot to the side and then left foot closes to the right foot. (count: 4-and) These steps should be taken quicker because they only get a half beat each.

Back half of basic:

Right foot to the side, Left foot forward for a rocking action and then replace weight back to the right foot. (count 1, 2, 3)

Left foot to the side to start your side chasse then close the right foot to the left foot. (count: 4-and)

Timing: 1, 2, 3, 4-and 1, 2, 3, 4-and

Follower’s Footwork:

Front half of basic:

Starting in closed dance position – Right foot to the side, Left foot forward for a rocking action and then replace weight back to the right foot. (count 1, 2, 3)

Next you will do a side chasse to the left. This involves stepping left foot to the side and then close the right foot to the left foot. (count: 4-and)

Note: These steps should be taken quicker because they only get a half beat each.

Back half of basic:

Left foot to the side, Right foot back for a rocking action and then replace weight back on left foot. (count: 1, 2, 3)

Right foot to the side to start your side chasse then close your left foot to your right foot. (count: 4-and)

Timing: 1, 2, 3, 4-and 1, 2, 3, 4-and

Forward Progressive Basic

Above we described the Cha Cha basic with a side chasse.

Another variation of the basic step is to take forward progressing steps or backward progressing steps instead of the side chasse.

Cha Cha Technique

Forward Poise

When dancing the Cha Cha you want to make sure the weight is on the ball of the foot. By having. a forward poise posture it helps shift the weight to the balls of your feet. 

Cuban Motion

When dancing the cha cha you want to make sure you are using Cuban motion. This involves rotation of the hips around the spine which is caused by the bending and straightening of the legs.

Delayed hip action

When you go to take a step you will first step, but don’t commit your weight to the foot right away. You want to have a delayed hip action as you bring your body weight over the foot.

Check out the video below, which demonstrates the importance of delayed hip action in American cha cha.

Check out these other American Cha Cha Steps

  • Open Break
  • Parallel Break
  • 5th Position Break
  • Cross Over Breaks
  • Cross Over Breaks with Swivel
  • Walk around turn – L/R
  • Lady’s Underarm Turn
  • Cross Body Lead
  • Chase Turn
  • Three Cha Chas
  • Back Spot Turn / Natural Top
  • Sweetheart / Cuddle

Check out these other American Rhythm Dances

Check out these other Dance Styles

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