Review of the basic step in cha-cha (cha-cha-cha).
The basic rhythm in cha-cha is usually:
Two Three Four& One
That’s right, ideally, the leader steps forward on the second beat of the music. In any case, it should always be a strong beat. In Latin music, often the second beat of the music is strong.
So to start dancing, the leader steps forward on beat two of the music and then rocks back on beat three.
Next comes the cha-cha steps, which may be side-together-side. (These are two quick steps.)
Here’s a very good video demonstration of the cha-cha. Notice how the leader brings out a beautiful smile in the follower and how tiny the cha-cha steps are. In this video below, the instructors dance the cha-cha in place but the cha-cha could be done to the side or backward or forward.
Note: some teach that the leader should step side left on beat one of the music and then back with his right foot on beat two. Others teach that the leader should step to the side with his right foot and then rock forward on beat two. These approaches also work. The important thing is to rock forward (or back) on a strong beat.
I’ve used “cha-cha-cha” in paretheses because I’ve heard that many Latins prefer the original term cha-cha-cha, which was changed to cha-cha by Arthur Murray in the 1950′s to stress the point that there are two (not three quick steps). However, if you say “cha-cha-CHA” — stressing the last CHA — you can still get the feeling of two quick steps followed by a third slower step.
After you learn the basic cha-cha step you may want to try something a little fancier, like the cross body lead in cha-cha.