The cha cha is a fast, flirtatious dance that requires quick and precise footwork. The cha cha is a dance of Cuban origin like the rumba, but its music is much faster, placing more focus on the high energy and less on the Cuban hip action. Cha cha is typically danced to a speed of 28-30 measures (112-120 beats) per minute.
Cha cha has a 4/4 time signature, which is common among all the ballroom and Latin dances with the exception of waltz. Cha cha music has a steady beat, although many cha cha patterns include syncopation which increases the speed of the dance. The original cha cha count is "1, 2, 3, cha-cha" or "1, 2, 3, 4-and". Even this most basic timing highlights the syncopation common in the cha cha, as the "1", "2", and "3" counts each take up a full beat, while the "4" and "and" counts take up only half a beat each. The downbeat of cha cha music is the "1", so this step is generally the sharpest and most emphasized to match the music.
Cha cha is a flirtatious and playful dance which has a unique sense of fun. Its light, bubbly nature makes it perfect for dancing at social parties or wedding receptions. Not only is cha cha a well-known, popular dance that many others will know and can dance with you, but cha cha can be danced readily to many popular songs, making it the perfect dance to learn before your next party or social event.
When selecting a song to dance cha cha, finding music in a 4/4 time signature shouldn't be a challenge, as this is the most common time signature for songs. However, some songs are more suited to the character of the cha cha than others, and you'll ideally want a song with the strongest beat on "1" to match the steps and patterns of the cha cha dance. While cha cha is a dance of Cuban origin, and may be danced to authentic Cuban music, it may also be danced to a variety of other musical styles such as Latin pop or Latin rock. Popular songs in many genres have been remixed to be perfect for dancing cha cha as well.
As one example, the artist DJ Ice has remixed the popular song "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish as both a cha cha and a tango. First, here's the song intended to be danced as a cha cha.
And here's the same song, but intended to be danced as a tango. If you play both versions of the song, you'll probably notice how different they sound from each other. If you want to learn more about what makes a song well suited for dancing the cha cha, our professional dance instructors can best teach you in person during your private lessons or group classes.
If you need help finding great songs for your cha cha practice or for an event, we've listed 10 of our favorite songs for dancing the cha cha below! All of these songs already have the correct time signature and speed to dance the cha cha. We've assembled songs from different genres to show the versatility of the cha cha. If you have any more questions about the cha cha and what songs it can be danced to, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we're happy to help!
10 Songs You Can Cha Cha To
"Sway" - Michael Bublé
"I Need to Know" - Marc Anthony
"Señorita" - Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello
"Bang Bang" - Dancelife Orchestra
"No Llores" - Gloria Estefan with Pit Bull
"Mercy" - Duffy
"Volver a Verte" - Oscar D'Leon
"Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" - Big & Rich
"Kiss" - Prince
"Let's Get Loud" - Jennifer Lopez
Want more cha cha? DJ Ice Dancesport Music is known for remixing popular songs for ballroom and Latin dance. We have included his playlist for cha cha below. All of these songs should be relatively easy to count and have consistent timing, as they were designed especially for cha cha. (Click the icon in the top right corner of this video to open the full playlist.)
Click here to learn more about the cha cha, and how you can learn this dance at Areté Dance Center!
If you have any questions, contact us at email@example.com or (408) 824-0074. Enjoy your dancing!