Originally known as the Cha-Cha-Cha. Became popular about 1954. Cha Cha is an offshoot of the Mambo. In the slow Mambo tempo, there was a distinct sound in the music that people began dancing to, calling the step the "Triple" Mambo. Eventually it evolved into a separate dance, known today as the Cha Cha.
The dance consists of three quick steps (triple step or cha cha cha) and two slower steps on the one beat and two beat. The dance is performed mostly in an open hold and on the spot, moving only slightly.
The Cha Cha is a fun, party-time dance, particularly when danced to the rhythm of authentic Cuban music
The word Rumba is a generic term, covering a variety of names (i.e., Son, Danzon, Guagira, Guaracha, Naningo), for a type of West Indian music or dancing. The word "rumba" comes from the verb "rumbear" which means going to parties, dancing, and having a good time.
There are two sources of the dances: one Spanish and the other African. Although the main growth was in Cuba, there were similar dance developments which took place in other Caribbean islands and in Latin America generally.
The "rumba influence" came in the 16th century with the black slaves imported from Africa. The native Rumba folk dance is essentially a sex pantomime danced extremely fast with exaggerated hip movements and with a sensually aggressive attitude on the part of the man and a defensive attitude on the part of the woman.
The steps for the Rumba present quite a challenge for the novice, but once mastered, this romantic and sultry dance is entrancing to watch and perform. The Rumba is among the slowest and most seductive and sensual of Latin dances. The sensuality is achieved by maintaining close contact with the floor through the feet.
The samba is a rhythmic, rolling dance that Brazilians have made popular around the world. The dance's origins began with African slaves, and it was later combined with Brazilian Indian and European influences. The modern version arose in the beginning of the 20th century and has evolved since then into several branches. It was and is danced as a festival dance during the street festivals and celebrations of Brazil. The festive style and mood of the dance has kept it alive and popular to this day.
Before Samba became a ballroom dance style, there were many styles of partner dances as well as solo Samba dances. As with the solo Samba, partner ballroom Samba has a quick beat that requires fast footwork. Over the years, the Samba has incorporated elaborate tricks, turns, and acrobatic feats into its basic set of figures.
In 1960 a new category of competition dances was put together called "Latin & American", combining four Latin dances with one American - the "Ballroom Jive". The usual abbreviation to "Latin American" should not be assumed to imply that Jive originated in Latin America This competitive ballroom version of Jive is based on a six-beat pattern of two fast syncopated chassés (side, close, side) followed by a slower break back and replace forward; it prohibits any kind of air step and is usually danced in an enhanced bouncy style, very upright and with lots of kicks. In competition it is danced at a fixed speed of 176 beats per minute (bpm), and will be most familiar to non-dancers as the type of Jive they see on Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing With The Stars!
The Ballroom Jive is a very fast, energy-consuming dance. In competition, after having performed the Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Cha Cha, the dancers have their stamina tested by performing The Jive
Paso Doble is Spanish for ‘two step’ and the steps in question are the male dancer’s bold, march-like movements, modeled on the proud, strutting of a matador striding into a bullring. The lady’s role is subsidiary, though colourfull and exciting one :she poses as his cape.
Despite its Hispanic flavor, and the Flamenco nfluences that some performers bring to it, the dance actually evolved in France, in the years between the two world wars.
Its inherent drama and passion, and the opportunities it provides for posing and display, have made it a particular favourite in Latin dance competitions. It is, however rather less common in purely social circles.