> History

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

> Cha-cha rhythm

> That infernal break step...

v Eight count or four count pattern?

>For those who still
> count 234&1, you will have two 2's, one forward left for the leader,
> the other back right for the leader.

That only works if you are doing a 2 bar (or measure I think you call it in the States) figure, though and not many cha cha figures really work like that (at least in International style and I believe in American style).

If you take a beginners combination like a New Yorker followed by a spot turn followed by a hand to hand, each of those figures occupies 4 beats (2 3, 4 & 1) and there's nothing really to say which of them should occur where in relation to the music.

Moreover I could quite validly dance spot turn, New Yorker going through with the left foot, second half of a basic (ie leader RF back), spot turn.

So, if you're going to count 2 3 4&5 6 7 8&1 (with or without the first 1), which figure in the combinations mentioned would you consider should be danced on the first bar and which on the second?

Move into more advanced stuff and it gets even more difficult. Say I put a spiral on the last beat of the hand to hand in the first combination followed by opening out to fan position, alemana turn into the first half of a basic with shaping and guapacha timing thrown in to boot. Maybe add a cross basic with a spiral end to that as well (I think that would work, I haven't danced it through).

All right, that's a fairly advanced combination, but if I was going to count through to 8, there'd have to be a way of deciding where in that 1 and 8 was going to be, and I'm not sure there is. [Andy Broomsgove]

And if you count to eight, does the leader first break forward or back? Here is the answer in a nutshell.

The reason for the leader breaking forward on the 2 instead of the 6 is that the music is phrased with alternating strong and weak measures, so naturally the guy should break forward on the strong measure. [Charles Koeppen]

Or, a bit less PC:

Cha is, as we all know, a Latin dance. In most Latin countries, the man is the major player in society (there's even a term for it, called machismo). So if you're a muy macho man down somewhere in, say, Colombia, and you decide to cha cha, is your first step (done on the 2) going to be backwards??!?!?! You are the MAN, mi amor, and as such you would NEVER let the first step of a dance EVER be led forward by the woman! Please!! ;) (I mean no insult to Latino/as; I am not saying all of us, as I am one too, are that way; that is simply the history of the culture, and how it impacts what is done in certain dances today). [Trish Smith]

> Pachanga cha

Contents of the r.a.d. FAQ

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Last modified on: 2000, Wednesday December 27.