The Cha-Cha or Triple Mambo is basically a triple rhythm Mambo (3 step rhythm to two beats of music, usually slower) done in 4/4 time, around 126 beats per minute. The dance may have been introduced to the world by a British dance teacher 'Pierre Leville' who noticed that the Rumba was occasionally danced with a couple of extra steps. He brought the idea back with him to Europe around 1952. Music wise in 1953 the Cuban dance orchestra "America " in Havana, started playing the Danzon' with a new syncopated beat, which sounded like a slow mambo. Later it was learned in 1954 that Enrique Jorrin , also of the band "America," was said to create the full version of the Cha-Cha back in 1948 by mixing the Danzon and Montuno music together while touring in the U.S. (some say Mexico). Basically he just called the dance cha-cha after the shuffle he heard in the music. The Cha-Cha and Rumba are related to the Mambo (salsa) Dance.


Cuban Mambo dancers would add a slight triple hip movement to this syncopation which eventually was replaced by a triple step rhythm. The Cha-Cha was introduced to the United States in 1954 and by 1959 the U.S. was Cha-Cha crazy. The Cha Cha has the same rhythm as the Lindy (8 counts) such as 1-2/3&4/5-6/7&8. >The words Cha-Cha hail from certain plants, producing seed pods in the West Indies called Cha-Cha (in Spanish means nursemaid.) These seed pods are used to make a small rattle called a Cha-Cha (maracas.) This instrument is used kinda like a metronome by certain bands.


The Guaracha was a Theater dance originating in the late 1800's from Cuba or Spain, and was done in 3/8 time. It was danced by one person, accompanied by the guitar which some report was the precursor to the Cha-Cha. >There are Sheet Music covers and a few stage plays done in the 1930's which may have some connection to the Cha-Cha as well. The Pachanga replaced the Cha-Cha in popularity. Basic Step description at bottom of page.


The dance can be known as Triple Mambo or Cha-Cha-Cha however it's official name is Cha-Cha.


Birth Place             Cuba / America 

Creation Date                   1948

Creator                   Cubans

Dance Type           Latin/ Rhythm