The Cha cha cha was created by Enrique Jorrín in 1948. Enrique Jorrín is a Cuban violinist and orchestra director who, as a result of his experimentation with the danzón’s form, melody and rhythm, created the cha-cha-cha.
The story on how the name came into being was with the help of the
dancers. As the dancers moved their feet to this new rhythm, it had the
sound of cha-cha-cha. From this sound the name was born.
The Cha-cha-cha is usually danced not to fast and not to slow. This makes it a dance for a more broader public.
Compared to the mambo, which is often faster and has more complex rhythms, the Cha-cha-cha is easier to grasp.
On the video below you can learn the basic elements of the Cha-cha-cha.
The cha cha has a 4/4 timing (4 beats per bar). The steps used to dance the cha cha are simple and easy to follow: The Cha cha represents the quick beats in the music that correspond with the steps in the dance. It represents the few quick steps on the 3rd and 4th beat.
It is also possible to start counting from the 2nd beat of the music. This is often preferred by dancers who prefer to dance mambo on2 (Salsa New York Style).
The open position of the dancers is typical for the Cha-cha-cha. The dance derives from the mambo, which is why all mambo moves can be done when dancing the cha-cha-cha.
Despite the fact that figures are similar in both dances, generally the cha-cha-cha is a slower and more elegant dance than the mambo.