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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is For Cha Cha Cha

C is for Cha Cha

Cha Cha Cha is a flamboyant, playful dance that projects a sense of fun.

Cha Cha is an off-shoot of the Mambo.  Cuban in origin, the New Yorkers are said to have developed the dance style by adding a Jive break.  The rhythm count is 4/4 but the 4th beat is split, thus thank you to NY,  we get the 2-3-4 and  one count.

There is a definite difference between American and International Cha Cha Cha.  When dancing American, the dancer steps onto a bent knee while the International dancer lands on a straight leg with the knee almost locked. The straight leg gives a natural hip rotation.

To dance Cha Cha, it is essestial to master Cuban motion for both the gentleman and lady. Small steps with the feet sliding on the floor gives the Cha Cha its distinctive rhythmic flavor.  Cuban motion is an acquired hip rotation that comes with hours of practice.  I also encourage social dancers to learn this motion as the frosting on your Cha Cha cake.
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53 comments:

  1. My Spanish teacher in high school was from Cuba. Sometimes he would break into the cha cha cha or mambo as he had us repeat Spanish sentences after him. Sweet Mr. Alvarez....Now, I'm gonna get up and try the international style. See ya.

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    1. Su-sieee
      Oh what a neat Spanish class you had. By comparison mine was like soda crackers. You go girl. Remember if you do international, come down on a straight leg and as you put your weight on it, let the opposite hip naturally go to the side. Now you have Latin Motion.

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  2. Fantastic! brings me back to my youth your post does! Thank you and good luck for this challenge: a good start ;-)

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    1. Honore
      Thank you for stopping and leaving the nice comment.

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  3. Well at least that is one I've heard of.

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    1. Hey John,
      I bet it's even one you can do. :)

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  4. Hip rotation? This is one for my daughter then. She used to be able to do the splits and while she was down, just swivel her body so she was facing in the other direction. I don't think she dances anymore, but I bet she could cha-cha if she tried. I've seen it on TV and it's great to watch.

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    1. River
      OMG That even hurts when I read what your daughter can do. To be young. :) I'm glad to see you got your computer running again.

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  5. I knew it!!! I just knew that C was going to be Cha cha cha!!! fun...

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    1. OK you win the prize. Terry said she was wondering what C could be. I'll bet you cha cha.Thanks for visiting again.

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  6. Cha cha and mambo were two of my favorite dances. You are right and I never thought about it like that but it is playful.

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    1. Patti
      Yes what fun. Do you remember the small dance floors in the clubs back then and you had to carve out a little space to do those dances. Of course it was impossible to do ballroom on such a tiny floor. I know that is why those latin dances got so popular.

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  7. There was a time when I could do an average cha cha but not for a long time. Your topic sounds like fun.

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    1. Pauleen
      I bet you would surprise yourself if you tried the cha cha again today. I don't know about that old "bike" rule, but it seems that once people learn to dance, it become muscle memory and they can always do it. (Not as good, perhaps, as I've found out.... but still do it.....hahaha)

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  8. Well if I don't have to lift my feet much
    May be able to do that one a touch
    Without falling on my rump
    And leaving me with another lump

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    1. Pat
      Then cha cha you can dance a bunch
      Even when you're out to lunch
      Save your head if you fall
      On the rump won't show a'tall

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  9. I love love love the cha cha
    karen

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    1. Karen,
      And I bet you are one snappy cha cha dancer. :)

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  10. I know nothing about dancing, all I can do is the chicken dance....my ex bf is madly in love with tango tho.

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    1. Poke the rock
      Well, you'll just have to go to a lot of weddings.
      Oh oh.... too bad he's your ex.....that won't do you any good anymore. :)

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  11. So entertaining. But I must say... the last female dancer... her *dress* looked like a bathing suit draped with a towel. I found it a bit distracting.

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    1. Bish
      It prob. comes in handy to wipe the sweat from her forehead. Hahaha

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  12. Hi Manzanita ... just been reading your comment over on Inger's ... time helps and I'm glad you appear so strong - ballroom dancing was one of my few hooks as a kid - I used to love watching it ... could never do it - but I could dream ... I have no sense of rhythm!!

    Cheers and I love the thought of their dancing .. so fluid and compact, precise and just very beautiful ... Hilary

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    1. Hilary,
      You know Ballroom dance is to England like wine is to France or leather shoes to Italy. I've always done International Dance and that is just the way dance is in England. Americans always try to change everything. I'll stick with the English when I dance. LOL
      Thank you.... it was quite a while ago. I'm happy.
      love to you, Manzanita

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  13. Hahahhaha....Cha Cha... thats what C is. I couldn't think of a dance that started with C. Now I am wondering about D. Hmmmm what could it be.

    Have a wonderful day Manzi. I am way behind today and trying to play catch up!!

    Love to you my FRIEND!

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    1. Terry,
      I've been behind since this began. What will I be at the end of the month? Waaaaaay behind. I won't tell you D but a hint.... Twinkle, twinkle
      I have to go out and plant some flowers I dug up at the ranch. They are dying from lack of water. Saving them will test my skill as a horticulturist.
      Talk to you later.
      My love to you, Manzi

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  14. Learning so much from your dance blogs! It is a great way to start my blogging day. Those dresses are crazy; love the guys' simplicity.

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    1. Susan
      Sometime they have too much fabric dangling here and there. Would be a distraction for me.
      Thanks, Susan

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  15. I have fond memories of learning to cha cha with my mama and daddy in the kitchen. :-)

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    1. Dee,
      Oh neat. That is the best place to dance and to learn from your parents, too. I love it!!!

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  16. I love learning about the variation in the dances. I have always loved watching the Cha Cha, but I never knew that about NY adding that last beat in the 4th count. The video was good, too. So much going on with the hips and feet, and the backs and shoulders are so straight and graceful. (Nothing like DWTS... hahaha.)

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    1. Robin
      Yes, posture is soooo important and you can really notice the lack of it on DWTS. They may get the feet right but as soon as they feel a little nervous or fear they made a mistake, the posture goes. Len spots it and so do the others but he is the only one who will comment on it and then he acts so surprised when the aud. boos him. It's all show biz.

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  17. Let's face it: Bears can't dance. Well, most of us can't. Some have been trained to dance, but it's not much of a dance. Not like your extraordinary Cha-cah dancers!

    I suppose I could take dance lessons, but I'm not all that co-ordinated. So I'm afraid I would step on other peoples' paws (er, feet). Sigh!

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting

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    1. Rob Bear
      Well of course, the dancing bear. I've heard of that all my life..... what do you mean bears can't dance? :) Don't they usually wear little tutu skirts too?
      That's always a hazard of stepping on paws. But once you have a good teacher teach your how to hold your partner, you won't step on paws, ever. Honest.

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  18. This was great! It made me think of when Michael Corleone went to Havana in Godfather II.
    "You broke my heart, Fredo!"

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    1. Al,
      I always appreciate your humor but I can't recall if I ever saw Godfather 11. I doubt it because I can't recall anything except the first one when the horses head was in the bed.

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    2. You didn't ask but......
      It happened when Michael went to Havana to strike up a deal to open casinos in that country. This was all before Batista became persona non gratis around those parts. Anyway, there was a Cuban New Years Eve party at which a lot of cha cha music was played. I can't help but think of that whenever I hear music such as this (which I like, by the way).

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  19. I used to be a big James Taylor fan. Not so much any longer but a few years back he wrote the sweetest cha cha cha song.

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    1. Zoe,
      Interesting. I've always liked him but I have never followed him or his work. But it would be interesting to hear it. Perhaps it's on YT. Thanks and thanks for stopping by.

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  20. Dear Manzanita,

    With all these folks doing this alphabet challenge, I'm struggling to keep up with this alternate challenge to my challenge. If that makes any sense.

    Anyway, I "C" you have reached the third letter of the alphabet for those who start from the beginning :)

    Would you believe that we did the "Cha Cha Cha" in high school? That's the one time I got to dance with the really cute young gal who came over from their PE class.

    And, I've been to Blackpool.

    Happy alphabeting, Manzanita.

    Gary :)

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    1. Gary
      I've always wanted to go to the Blackpool competitions. Never made it during competition. My daughter and I did visit there once, though, long ago. Lucky, lucky you.
      Stretching the letters. Ha
      A lot of your friends writing daily.... hard for you to keep up and me too with the comments.
      Thanks for stopping. Hello to the star terrier, Penny

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  21. Oh how your blogs make me wish I had rhythm! I long to sashay around the floor, a la Strictly Come Dancing, but alas, I have three left feet :) Good luck with the challenge!

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    1. mojowritin
      It always looks so easy, doesn't it. But a lot of sweat goes into learning where to place those little dancing tootsies. My partner (s) and I practiced every spare minute we could. It worked because we both were danceaholics. Haha

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    2. Mojowritin
      I visited your blog and was going to comment but it wouldn't let me. I don't understand it but I think it's because I also have a Word Press blog and it seems to want me to sign in under that one and I don't want to mix them. Sorry.

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  22. what fun, all these dancing posts! And love the name of your blog:)

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    1. Sandra
      Thank you for stopping and the nice compliment.

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  23. Love your theme for the A-Z challenge! I'm not blogging about dancing, but next Monday, for F day (For Fun), I'll have a video on Bachata dancing--real local stuff, nothing salon. Do you also teach Bachata?

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  24. Oh, and like Sandra before me, I absolutely love the name (and headline pic) of your blog :D Can totally imagine the cat's voice as he says it :)

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  25. Well that's not how I cha cha cha around the kitchen when I'm cooking! ;-)

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

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  26. Awe dang now you're making me want to dance again. Cha-Cha-Cha was one of my fave dances. :-(

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  28. Hi, dearest Manzi! Oh, while I was reading your words I caught myself thinking that I want to learn cha cha too :)) It looks very inflammatory and passionate.

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