The Cha Cha is the youngest of the "Latin" dances. It is a true American dance, developed in the dance studios in the early 50's as a mid-tempo variant between Rumba (slow) and Mambo (fast). It is believed to have started as a step in Mambo - a triple step to replace the slow one to accommodate slower musical rhythms. This developed into an entirely new dance in its own right.
Slower modern music has often inspired the evolution of popular dances such as Single Swing into Triple Swing and Quickstep into Slow Foxtrot. Likewise, Cha Cha music is slower than Mambo/ Salsa and adds steps to accommodate these tempos. The music is commonly upbeat and the dance is alive and well in the Ballrooms today.
It is flashy, sassy and "full of itself." The Cha Cha's styling is very similar to the Rumba and the Mambo. Like most Latin dances, your weight is forward, and most of the body movement happens from the rib cage down. The steps are small, taken with the ball of the foot first to better execute the hip action commonly known as "Cuban motion."
The music is composed in 4/4 time and the rhythm is danced 2-3-4 & 1 or "rock step cha cha cha"