Cha-cha a Cuban import that continues to gain fans

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Though Argentine tango might be my passion, the cha-cha is the dance I consider the most fun of all the Latin American dances. It is quite flirtatious, with the idea of a chase between a man and a woman playing through the dance.

Known also as the cha-cha-cha, the dance originated in Cuba in the 1940s. The name is derived from the sound of the dancers' shoes as they shuffle around the floor during the dance.

The cha-cha arrived in America around 1954 and caught on quickly.

Cha-cha has become one of the five dances in international competitions of the Latin American program governed by the World Dance Council, and America took advantage of this by pulling the cha-cha into the competitive rhythm section of their ballroom dance competitions.

The cha-cha is one of the most popular social Latin-American dances. The dance consists of small steps and lots of hip action, with a staccato rhythm that makes it full of energy and produces a party-like atmosphere. The cha-cha is adaptable to almost any music - even our top 40 music today.

Cha-cha is not only a fun partner dance but can also be danced as a line dance.

Even if you are dancing the cha-cha with a partner, you might find yourself side by side in many of the moves and not always holding on to each other facing each other.

There are so many variations of cha-cha and so many steps that it never becomes routine. The rhythm cannot only be manipulated, but you can do a very slow cha-cha or a very fast cha-cha. It is very easy to lead and very easy to follow.

The cha-cha has continued to gain popularity because it is fast-paced, easy to learn, and, for the health conscious, provides an excellent cardio workout.

People of all ages and nationalities enjoy dancing the cha-cha more than ever before.

Have you joined in the fun?

Sandro Virag is a partner and instructor at Fred Astaire Dance Studios of Hilton Head, located in Bluffton at Seaquins Ballroom.

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