What are the differences between Cuban Cha-Cha and International Ballroom Cha-cha-cha that is danced today?
Ballroom Cha-cha-cha was developed in the 1950s by Pierre Zurcher-Margolle of France who went to Cuba to learn the latest Cuban dances. He discovered the Cuban Cha-Cha, named after the song it was danced to, "Cha-Cha" (1953) by Cuban Enrique Jorrin, a composer and violinist.
Zurcher-Margolle analyzed the dance, noting that the dance step was syncopated on the fourth beat giving a split four-and-one count that became the ballroom "cha-cha-cha". The Cubans began the dance on the second beat instead of the first beat.
The count was "two-three-chachacha" or alternately "four-and-one two three". The original Cuban count was "two-three-chachacha" with the chasse at the end of the sequence. Modern ballroom Cha-cha-cha may use the alternate beat that puts the chasse at the beginning with the "four-and-one two three" syncopated fourth count as the starting point. Neither version starts the dance on the first count.
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