Finding the *&^*@! beat in Cha Cha

For some reason, finding where to "cha-cha-cha" in music is hard for North American ears. The main issue is that the stressed beats are 2 and 4, not 1 and 3 like most music that folks here listen to. For some students, simply explaining that "ccc" goes on the 4 & 1 of the music, clears up any problems--but most stare at me uncomprehendingly. Over the years, I have gone from teaching one way to start the dance (and pounding it into people) to teaching four different ways. This way, I figure that more people will find an easy way to stay on the beat.

  1. My favorite way is (wow, surprise) the way I was taught: Count "1" and start the rock step on "2"--but I was a musician for 14 years before I started dancing, so this does not work for everyone.
  2. If you can hear the "cha cha cha": start on that part of the step (Leader CCC to the left and then do the back rock on the right foot--or whatever works for you).
  3. If you can find the "1" but can't hear the "cha cha cha": On "1" take ONLY the last step of the "cha cha CHA" (to leader's left), and rock back on the right for leader/forward on left for follower).
  4. For the rhythmically challenged: watch to see who looks like they are on the beat, and copy shamelessly--there is NOTHING wrong with this approach.

Good luck!