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cha cha chasses
Posted by latina7
8/15/2008  5:08:00 AM
So pardon my ignorance in trying to understand this thread, but does the musical interpretaion of counting 123 and 4 infer breaking on 1? I'm still very new to the world of dance, but musicality and ryhthm are more important to me, than learning patterns. I'd rather look and feel good doing a basic, than move "un-musically" as a beginner, through advanced patterns.
Re: cha cha chasses
Posted by latina7
8/15/2008  5:10:00 AM
Sorry, didn't mean to start a new thread.
Re: cha cha chasses
Posted by SocialDancer
8/15/2008  6:08:00 AM
Yes it does, and that was the way it was danced in the UK back in the 1960s when Wheels was a hit.

I'm not sure when, but some time later the interpretation and the music changed to the current style of breaking on 2 which is often counted 234&1.

Some cha cha music is still played using the 123&4 count, typically much of that used in the UK for sequence dancing which breaks on 1 when danced socially. I would argue that that is the correct interpretation allowing for the music used though the scripts break on 2 as does any competitive sequence dancing.

Many teachers of beginners have developed the habit of over-emphasising the break on 2 to keep a class together by shouting 2! 3 4&1 and this can result in the cha cha feel being lost. That is why I prefer to count 1234& where the 1 is the last step of the chasse thus retaining the break on 2 but putting more into the chasse. (I cannot find a nice way to indicate emphasis in these posts.)

For your own interpretation I suggest you listen to the music and pick out the two quick half-beats in the rhythm backing. That is where the first two steps of the chasse should fit.
Re: cha cha chasses
Posted by terence2
8/15/2008  8:16:00 AM
Have made many posts about the construction of latin music.. simply put...

music with a syncop within the bar, as in 1.2 3 and4.. is guajira.. this is the ORIGINAL latino form of which also transpired into Cha.written with a different accent .

the " form " is tied up with Danzon .. the structure that evolved from that ( the current style of Bolero and Intern Rumba ) was transformed from the originator of mambo music... Cachao... it became a clave driven 2 bars known simply as rumba clave.

the dance sequence became Triple Mambo to Guajira to Cha .

The cuban singer Guillermo Portabales was responsible for refining the rhythm to " salon guajira " .( done in a 3/4 and 6/8 time sign.)

many cubans today, still break on 1 irrespective of the clave change .They incidentally call the mambo, Systemo Cubana .

to add to this, it is all underpinned in " son " rhythm brought to cuba by 2 dominican sisters in the 1800s .This the driving force behind ALL latin rhythms .

the history and origins are very complex,so one should read and research why we use the rhythms we choose ( santeria, the religion , has a large part to play in the mix )

As one can see.. just saying oh.. break on 1 or 2, it doesnt matter , is contrary to all that the genre is based upon. Even the direction in which we start is important .

if you need Guajira songs, they crop up from time to time in salsa recordings.
the latest " Classic " is by Cachao, which was recorded just before his death early this yr . ( it has a DVD set ).

This is a truly amazing experience, introduced by none other than a famous Cuban Hollywood star .
Re: cha cha chasses
Posted by interested
8/15/2008  9:38:00 AM
so does the histotical development of the dance technique (ie where you break) correlate with the music used at the time and where the syncopated beats were within the structure of that music ?
Re: cha cha chasses
Posted by jofjonesboro
8/15/2008  10:11:00 AM
I think that it would be more accurate to say that dance reflects music; the relationship is not correlative (i.e. the influence is in one direction).


Re: cha cha chasses
Posted by interested
8/15/2008  12:57:00 PM
well you would think and hope it would work that way -ie the dance reflect the music - question is, did it ?
Re: cha cha chasses
Posted by terence2
8/16/2008  12:30:00 AM
Re: cha cha chasses
Posted by Polished
8/15/2008  1:56:00 PM
Social Dancer. I'm not trying to be awkward but how can you count 1234&
and still break on 2. Unless you mean that at the start of a Basic you have your foot to the side and roll onto it on beat one and dance 2 3 4 and 1. The dance should be started by taking a step on the 1st beat of the bar. Most of our top dancers start with the RF behind the LF in a nice pose.
Also I am not aware of any recording of a Cha Cha where the beats are placed differently. The emphasized beat is beat one always.
The Rumba has the predominant percussive accents associated with the 4th beat of each bar..Ask that question in a class and you will get the wrong answer every time.
Re: cha cha chasses
Posted by SocialDancer
8/15/2008  3:59:00 PM
I'm not suggesting any change in the timing, the 'break' is still on 2 and the chasse is on 4&1. It is the way the count and rhythm is expressed that affects the style of the dance, particularly for beginners.

The figures are taught starting with the break step and ending with the chasse. The teacher may count 234&1 but they are just numbers to the beginner who cannot yet relate them to the music. They practice the figures and their brains develop a mechanical memory of step-step-chachacha. When the music is added there is a natural tendency to align that mechanical pattern to a bar of music and dance 123&4. So the teacher then introduces a way of starting with an extra step or weight change to move the break onto 2 and also, in many cases I have observed, applies a very heavy emphasis on the 2 count. I cannot show the rhythmic emphasis I hear easily in the text of this post so I shall try to explain:

2 - Very heavy, to the extent of shouting.
3 - normal.
4&1 - falls away as happens at the end of a sentence in normal (English at least) speech.

I'm not saying all teachers do this but I have heard several who do to some extent. The clips in the learning centre on this site do not have the heavy emphasis but there is still a tendency to throw away the chasse at the end of the sentence.

All I am suggesting is to restore some weight to the first beat of the bar and make it more obvious that the figure is danced across the bar boundary, thus;

2 - normal
3 - normal
4& - normal
1 - heavy

or I actually prefer 2 3 chacha 1

Students can listen for the split beats in the rhythm and can then start dancing with - chacha 1.

This can put the life back into the chasse and make it look a bit more like Karina's

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