v History

While for many dances the history is unclear or debated, even if they are as recent as the hustle, the history of the cha-cha-chá is quite clear. Rebeca Mauleón-Santana writes about the evolution of dances and dance music based on the Cuban Danzón [Keyboard magazine, January 1996 issue, page 38 and 40]:

Now thot the new mambo had taken the world by storm, what would become of the original danzón-mambo? The charanga orchestras who interpreted the style were also quick to adapt and innovate, and since Cuban audiences have aluays been wonderful dancers, it is no wonder that they would inspire the change. The López brothers [...] made a tremendous mark with their pioneering of the mambo section of the danzón with Arcaño y sus Maravillas, led by flutist antonio Arcaño. Another important member of the group was violinist/composer Enrique Jorrín, who noticed that when the orchestra played this new rhythm, the dancers came up with a new step, scraping their feet on the floor in time with the conga drum pattern. This new section would eventually break ayay from the danzón and become its own entity; Jorrin would call it cha-cha00á, mimicking the sounds of the dancers' feet. Indeed, he wrote the first cha-cha-chá, entitled "La Engañadora," in 1951.

> What's the name, cha-cha or cha-cha-chá?

> Cha-cha rhythm

> That infernal break step...

> Eight count or four count pattern?

> Pachanga cha

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Last modified on: 2000, Sunday December 24.