The Cha Cha Dance Steps for Beginners

Cha Cha Dance steps

The Rhythm of Cha Cha dance steps are very easy and entertaining. That’s why it is so popular

The Cha Cha dance steps are created when the two movements are combined or used jointly and in most cases with slight variations of the body position. The London dance instructor Pierre Lavelle, who was responsible for having the Cuban Rumba declared the official Rumba, while on a visit to Cuba, had noticed that sometimes there were extra beats added to the Rumba. Upon his return to England he taught these steps as a completely new dance.

It has been suggested that the name Cha-Cha (or Cha-Cha-Cha as it is called by some people) was coined for the sound of the 3 quick steps after the forward and back step (or back and forward steps). The steps for the Cha-Cha are taken on the beats accompanied by a strong hip movement as the leg straightens on the half beat.

The Cha-Cha is a fun, flirty, lighthearted dance that gets its distinctive “cha, cha, cha” rhythm because there are 5 steps danced to four beats. Dancers work parallel with each other in well synchronized movements sometimes employing the “New Yorker”, a step where one of the dancers steps across the other and checks to change direction. Cuban motion, the hip motion derived from alternately bending and straightening the knees, is an important factor in this dance.

To learn the cha-cha dancing, you must practice the dance pattern alone, stepping forward and back movements, but essentially dancing in one place. Thereafter, learn to move left and right while maintaining the same pattern.

Although this can also be practiced alone, it’s helpful to practice with a partner before moving on to more complicated dance steps. The basic Cha Cha dance steps involve small-sized steps with turned out feet and legs because of its rhythm.

Cha Cha Dance Steps – The Man’s Part

Step 1: Face the woman and place your right hand on her side just below her left shoulder. Hold her right hand in your left hand, lifting it high.

Step 2: Step forward on your left foot on count 2.

Step 3: Briefly lift your right foot, then set it down in the same place on count 3.

Step 4: Take a step back and to the left with your left foot. Bring your right foot beside it, then step to the left again. This is the cha-cha-cha and is done on counts 4 and 1.

Step 5: Step back on your right foot.

Step 6: Briefly lift your left foot, then set it down in the same place.

Step 7: Take a step forward and to the right with your right foot. Bring your left foot beside it, then step to the left again for the cha-cha-cha.

Cha Cha Dance Steps – The Woman’s Part

Step 1: Face the man and place your left hand on his right arm at the shoulder. Hold his left hand in your right, lifting it high.

Step 2: Step back on your right foot on count 2.

Step 3: Briefly lift your left foot and set it down again in the same place on count 3.

Step 4: Take a step forward and to the right with your right foot. Bring your left foot beside it, then step to the right again. This is a cha-cha-cha and is done on counts 4 and 1.

Step 5: Step forward on your left foot.

Step 6: Briefly lift your right foot and set it down again in the same place.

Step 7: Take a step back and to the left with your left foot. Bring your right foot beside it, then step to the left again for the cha-cha-cha.

Cha Cha dance steps for Leader & Follower

In Cha cha dance steps, the Leader starts with the right foot. Follower starts with the left.

Follower generally does natural opposite of leader’s footwork.

Verbal Cue for Basic Step: Side, rock, step, cha-cha-cha, rock, step, cha-cha

Count for Basic Step (8 beats): 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5, 6, 7, 8 &

Side basic
(closed and open)
1-8Leader: side R 1, rock forward L 2, replace R 3, sidetogether- side (L R L) 4&5, rock back R 6 , replace L 7, side-together-side 8&1
Crossover breaks1-8Leader: side R 1, quarter turn R and rock forward L 2, replace R 3, face partner and side-together-side (L R L) 4&5, quarter turn L and rock forward R 6 , replace L 7, face partner and side-together-side 8&1
Lady’s underarm
crossover turn
1-8Leader: same footwork as crossover breaks except you lead the follower in an outside underarm turn while you do the rock step part of the crossover break.
Follower: on left side of crossover break, step forward onto R foot 2, keep turning 180° R and shift weight onto L foot 3 (which should not have moved from its location on count 2). Finish turning to face partner on cha-cha-cha (sidetogether-side) 4&5. On right side of crossover break, step forward onto L foot 6, keep turning 180° L and shift weight onto R foot 7 (which should not have moved from its location on count 6). Finish turning to face partner on chacha-cha (side-together-side) 8&1.
Mirror turns1-8Leader: on right side of crossover break, step forward onto L foot 2, push partners hand out and away and let go.
Keep turning 180° L and shift weight onto R foot 3 (which should not have moved from its location on count 2). Finish turning to face partner on cha-cha-cha (side-together-side)
4&5. Repeat on left side with opposite footwork.
Follower: same footwork as underarm crossover turn.
Forward/back basic
(closed and open)
1-8Leader: side R 1, rock forward L 2, replace R 3, back-backback (L R L) 4&5, rock back R 6 , replace L 7, forwardforward- forward 8&1.
Chase1-8Forward and back basic, not holding hands with partner.
Chase half turn1-8On forward rock, step forward and pivot turn, shifting weight onto the opposite foot. Cha-cha-cha away from your partner. Repeat.
Chase whole turn1-8On forward rock, step forward and pivot turn. Keep turning in same direction for another half turn on cha-cha-cha.
Finish with a back rock.

Download Cha Cha Dance LessonsLearn More about Cha Cha Dance

If you really liked this post of Cha Cha dance steps, say thanks by sharing it.