Cha Cha dance style

History of Cha Cha

The Cha Cha Cha (written with or without dash or totally attached in some languages) is a Cuban musical style created in 1953 from Danzón and Son by the Cuban musician and conductor Enrique Jorrin.

The rhythm resumes that of Danzón to which we added a syncope to the fourth movement while the name is an onomatopoeia from the noise produced by the güiro (instrument used in the Bachata) and that of the feet of the dancers lying on the ground.

Among the instruments used to interpret the Cha Cha Cha we find the same as for other musical styles of the Caribbean, ie congas, bongos, timpani, maracas and cencerros to mark the pace, the trumpets , the trombones, the piano and the double bass for the melody.

Origins of Cha Cha Cha

Enrique Jorrín, a talented Cuban musician from Danzón, was part of the famous “Orquesta América” between 1946 and 1954. Believing that dancers had difficulties with Mambo syncopations, Enrique Jorrín decided to create simpler rhythms in 2 / 4 that will be found in “La Engañadora” created in 1948 and which is considered the first song of Cha Cha Cha.

Seeing that the public begins to appreciate this new musical genre, he will then compose other songs of this style that will be quickly adopted by the dancers. Neither too slow nor too fast, the Cha Cha Cha is indeed accessible to any individual who wants to have fun with some dance concepts.

After “La Engañadora”, Enrique Jorrín will compose other songs like “El túnel”, “Nada para ti”, “Me muero”, “Cógele well the compás”, “Trompetas in cha-cha-chá” y “El Alardoso “who will popularize Cha Cha Cha.

Realizing that the conductor of “Orquesta América”, Ninón Mondéjar, was going to rob him the paternity of Cha Cha Cha, Enrique Jorrín then decided to form on May 8, 1954 his own orchestra known as “Orquesta Enrique Jorrín “and moved to Mexico where he will broadcast the new musical genre he has created.

Evolution of Cha Cha Cha

This new musical style will be picked up by other Cuban and Mexican musicians like Ramón Márquez, Richard Egües and Jorge Zamora, allowing Cha Cha Cha to develop over a large part of the American continent.

In Havana, the Charangas were used to playing Cha Cha Cha on Marianao Beach or at popular festivals. But by the time this musical genre was successful, it began to overshadow the jazz bands that reigned supreme in the aristocratic salons.

Enrique Jorrín will then emulate with his new musical genre, inspiring other composers like Richard Egües (“El bodeguero”, “La muela”, “Sabrosona”), Felix Reina (“Angoa”), Rosendo Rosell (“Calculadora “), Miguel Jorrín (” Espíritu burlón “,” No te bañes en el malecón “), Rosendo Ruiz (” Rico vacilón “,” Los Marcianos “), Ramón Cabrera (” Esperanza “), Maria Aurora Gómez (” El baile “) del suavito “), Jorge Zamora (” No me molesto “,” The basura “), Rafael Lay (” Cero codazos “) or Antonio Sánchez (” Poco pelo “,” Yo sabía that a day “).

The rhythm of Cha Cha Cha will be repeated later in many songs of R & B and Rock and Roll like “Louie Louie” composed by Richard Berry in 1956 and which will know a very great success. To write this song, Richard Berry used musical phrases from “El Loco Cha Cha” that had previously been composed by the Cuban musician René Touzet.

In 1961, the Cha Cha Cha will make a breakthrough in France thanks to a group of Latino musicians who formed in the Latin Quarter, Paris, two years earlier: Los Machucambos. That year, the group presents to the public their song called “Pepito” which will obtain a very big popular success.
Another song of Machucambos composed on a Cha Cha Cha rhythm will also have a lot of success on the vacation spots of the French: “Eso es el amor”.

Unfortunately, Cha Cha Cha will have much to do in the 1960s with the competition of the Bossa Nova from Brazil and the Rock and Roll adopted by the youth of the world.

Despite the creation in 1974 of a new group by Enrique Jorrín, integrating the singer Tito Gomez and the pianist Ruben Gonzalez, the Cha Cha Cha will fall into disuse in the 1970s, even if we find episodically its rhythms in some recent creations as “Cariño” and “Let’s get loud” Jennifer Lopez or Corazón espinado Carlos Santana.

Dancing Cha Cha Cha

As Enrique Jorrín wanted, the Cha Cha Cha is easy to dance even if it will be necessary to make an effort to learn the basic step quite close to the Mambo, the Rumba or the Salsa.

The Cha Cha Cha is dancing on a four-beat rhythm: at first we take a step with his left foot, in the second we advance the right foot, at the third time we take two steps of half a time each and at fourth time we still take a step. Footsteps that last a while are called “slow steps” and half-time ones are “not fast”.

To dance Cha Cha Cha it is better to adopt a relaxed attitude, to have some flexibility at the knees and hips, and to be guided by the rhythm of the music.

In order to better visualize how Cha Cha Cha is dancing, the easiest way is to watch this video below to better understand the most basic dance steps.


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