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Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by waynelee
6/21/2015  7:36:00 AM
Surprised that no one has responded to you. I'll take a shot at it. I only dance the American version, but my wife has danced Latin.

The major difference between Latin and American ChaCha is the method of doing "Cuban Motion", or hip motion. In American rhythm dances, Cuban Motion is achieved by bending the knee and moving your weight onto that leg. This weight change causes your hip to swivel towards the bent leg. In Latin, hip motion is achieved by straight leg movement. As far as steps go, I believe that the majority of steps are acceptable in both methods.

Now as far as counting goes, in both American and Latin ChaCha, the dance begins on the second beat. To get started, most beginners take a side step on the first beat and then go into the first step. So for example, the gentleman's part would be: side step with the left leg on beat one, back rock with the right leg on beat 2, forward rock with the left leg on beat 3, do a quick right left right on beat 4 and 1 (the "cha cha cha") to the side, forward rock with the left leg on beat 2, etc.

This method results in, what I believe is, the most common counting pattern of 2-3-4 and 1, where the 4 and 1 is the three step chachacha. OR, as some teachers teach the count as 1-2-3-4 and 1, to help the dancer start correctly.
Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by wendance
6/20/2015  5:36:00 PM
Waynelee, thank you for taking the time to answer! So if I understand on the counting correctly, we start the dance on a beat 2, because the last of the three 'cha chas' falls on beat 1,and it's too hard to start that way. Right?
I've heard people count it three ways:

1 2 3 cha cha cha 2 3 cha cha cha (saying 'cha' three times)
cha cha 1 2 3 cha cha 1 2 3 (saying 'cha' only two times)
1 2 3 4 & 1 2 3 4 & 1 2 3 4 & 1 (not saying 'cha' at all)

Sounds like all three of these are correct, as long as the three quicker steps are done on beat 4, the 1/2 beat '&', and beat 1, no matter how you 'say' the counts. correct?

I would love confirmation on this. Also, if anyone else wants to chime in, I'm all ears! :)

Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by Voco
6/21/2015  1:01:00 AM

There is very little if any difference in style between Latin and Rhythm Cha-Cha. Theoretically, as Waynelee mentioned the knee should be I softer in Rhythm-CC, probably, to imitate real or imagined authenticity. It appears to me that this difference is hardly detectable in competitions. The steps are pretty much the same as well. I heard that judges look for the bent-knee style in Rhythm-CC, but I could not verify that. Maybe a judge can comment.

With regard to counting, the main thing to keep in mind that there are 5 steps in the four-beat-measure (except if syncopated). The 2, 3 Cha, Cha, 1 is probably the most common teaching count. Because it reminds the dancer to the beats and also that the 1 is often accented. But it really does not matter how it is counted as long as full and the half-beats are danced at the correct time.

With regard to: The dance begins on the second beat. Does it really matter where you start as long as the full and half beats in the measure are correctly timed? I think not. Usually it is easier recognize 1 in the music than 2, so I find nothing wrong, even for advanced dancers, to take a step on 1. Would you get a penalty for that in a competition? I dont think so, but someone could correct me if I am wrong.
Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by nloftofan1
6/21/2015  5:14:00 AM
To make the point, one of our local instructors insists that the dance should be called "Cha-Cha," not "Cha-Cha-Cha." Why? Because one measure is counted 1, 2, 3, 4-&. The 4-& is "Cha-Cha." The third "Cha" would actually fall on the first beat of the next measure, so she just calls it "1," not "Cha." A little pedantic, but it makes the point.
Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by ladydance
6/21/2015  8:13:00 AM
She is right. Cha Cha Cha sounds like each 'cha' is a full beat. You see beginners dance like this and it is horrible. I think it is best to use the count and leave cha cha out of it completely.
Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by Voco
6/21/2015  9:13:00 PM
nloftofan1 & ladydance

You are 100% correct the name Cha-cha-cha is misleading. Cha-cha would be a better name, and it often used in the USA. The UK is more traditional, and when announcing the dance it is usually Cha-cha-cha.

This is one of the mysteries of the dance related names. Occasionally, very confusing, especially in Standard where the same word is used to describe totally different movements. One teacher said he thought that those who gave the names were drunk.
Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by terence2
6/22/2015  3:42:00 AM

And.. the reason its counted 4= 1, is because its paying homage to the conga slap (4-1) .

As to similarities, all the styles have the same root, hence basics are crossovers in many cases.
Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by Voco
6/22/2015  10:43:00 PM
Hi Terence2,

Could you elaborate on the conga slap timing? I am not sure if I hear it properly, at least not always. What about in Rumba? Where is the conga slap? Thanks.
Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by terence2
6/24/2015  5:50:00 AM

ALL latin being Son based, the Conga ( Tumbao )creates a dominant 4 beat usually on the 4th beat 2nd bar. Immediately after, there is a "slap " ( and "1" )which may be used for syncopations The "2" that follows is the beat on which we break..

The "Son " style music ,from which Danzon /Rumba evolved ,has a more dominant beat than most other dance styles of latin, BUT.. Its always implied, even by Piano.

Often,The major problem with non latin bands that play latin songs for dancing/teaching, is, they often do not have all the instrument "makeup " of traditional latin bands, hence, the stressed beats one is listening for may not always be as clear.. but.. this also is evident in traditional style music on occasion .

Having said that, one still can be guided by knowing how the structure of the music , is written. Pretty much all is in 2 bar sequence .Identify that, and Presto ! you know where emphasis lies
Re: Difference in cha-chas
Posted by Voco
6/25/2015  12:18:00 AM
Hi Terence2,

Thanks for the reply. Very interesting. I would like to study your suggestion.

Would you please refer me to a C-C and a R song where the phenomenon you describe is easily recognizable? (YouTube address or just the name of the song and artist, if not on YouTube). That would be good starting point for me. I have no problems recognizing the 1 in any Standard dances, or in Jive, Passo and Samba, but I use only intuition for R & C-C, and I am occasionally embarrassingly wrong, and often have to trust the partner with the counting. Your method would help me to use more than intuition. Thanks.

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