Why is a good chacha so hard to find in a salsa club?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by antigone, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. antigone

    antigone Pattern Police

    Segue from the resurrected chacha thread...
    So I learned chacha in ballroom, meaning that my concept of it is very rigid and formal. I've adjusted this concept when dancing with salseros, but I still have trouble following a lot of the salseros in chacha. My biggest problem is that they don't seem to alternate regularly between the slow-slow and quick-quick-quick, and instead insert the quick-quick-quick whenever they feel like it. I don't care if it's on1, on2, but I'm used to have a regular pattern in chacha. Am I missing something? Second, I can sometimes follow a guy doing random cha-cha-cha's if he leads from his core (arms lower, tighter hip motion, so I can feel when the quick movement is coming), but most of the salseros I get use their arms and chest to lead. I have no problem with that in salsa, but it just doesn't work for me in chacha. Again, missing something?
    #1
  2. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm Sonero

    you have it right (except there is no on1 in cha :)). re everythign else you wrote - well, my sympathies :)
  3. terence

    terence Maestro 'Rumba' Morales

    Many of the older latino DJs ,do not recognise Cha as a latin dance, and they try to play ( on occasion ) Guajiras, the demand is very small in most of the latino clubs I used to frequent .
    This probably, was your dance experience with the ( to you ) "off " timing as in 1,2, 3 and 4,, to them 1,2, QQQ. Some do style the dance very well rhythmically, but their variety is usually very contained .
  4. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    I haven't noticed this problem in Tokyo. The city has a sizable on2 community that hosts regular on2 parties, and leaders seem to be able to keep the cha-cha-cha rhythm fine. Same at the NY congress. But when I was at the LA congress, I noticed that a lot of leaders there were more comfortable with cha cha on1 and tended to switch back to it even if they start on2 at the beginning - could this be the cause of the apparent randomness? Also, I've come across a fair number of off-timers who don't seem to be able to stick to a specific timing when dancing salsa, and presumably they'll have the same problem dancing cha cha?
  5. John S2

    John S2 Son Montuno

    Many people - myself included - find it much easier to dance cha-cha on1. I was taught to dance cha-cha on2 before I was taught Salsa on1 so my difficulty does not originate from what I was taught. I can dance cha-cha on2 if I concentrate very hard but as soon as my concentration slips I will automatiically revert to on1. I feel as though my mind is fighting my body when I try to dance on2.
    Usually I avoid the problem by starting on1 in the first place. There is then no ambiguity for the follower.
  6. terence

    terence Maestro 'Rumba' Morales




    Your first priority should be to identify the music.. is it a Cha rhythm or a Son Guajira.
    These should be the defining rhythms for what you choose to break on.

    Probably fair to say, that the very large majority of the syncop. music is written in a 4 and 1 sequence, but not all.

    If you,re not sure.. ask the DJ .
  7. John S2

    John S2 Son Montuno

    Terence - can I give you an example? When I listen to Oye Como Va by Santana I hear 1, 2, 3 & 4 in the music so I dance cha-cha on1. Do you hear something different to me or is this what you would call Guajira rather than Cha-Cha?
  8. terence

    terence Maestro 'Rumba' Morales



    Exactly !.. you are actually dancing a Gaujira rhythm.. but ... what inevitably happens ( as with most hybrids, like cha) they influence the original rhythms with variations, usually from the world of B/ Room ,and its "character " , invariably becomes diluted.

    Guajira is styled quite differently, from the more b/room version of Cha .
  9. chr

    chr Shine Officer

    I am not sure about your problem. If the break step is consistent, then I don't think it is strictly necessary to step all cha-cha steps.

    One of my (salsa) dance instructors have explicitely suggested to omit the syncopation on occasion to make the dance more interesting. (Messing up the timing of the non-cha-cha steps of course does not qualify... ;))
  10. la_gringa

    la_gringa Tumbao

    i don't think the "problem" is putting in or leaving out syncopation - it's that many leaders "cha-cha-cha" apparently randomly.
  11. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Capitán Del Estilo

    From watching other dancers, and my experience with follows, it seems like at least half the people on the floor are trying to dance cha-cha On1, which is just wrong.:) I guess a lot of people just don't hear the tumbao.
  12. GRx

    GRx Sonero

    I have seen Abel and Zulmara teach and dance cha cha on1
  13. acpjr

    acpjr Tumbao

    Nah, it's just that leaders don't know how to dance cha-cha-cha. I think in one of Unlikely Salsero's blog posts he mentions the rise of Bachata popularity over Cha Cha Cha (gasp!) To me this also means that Bachata classes are also gaining in popularity.

    I've taken basic cha cha at many different schools here in LA, and all of them are ballroom style on2, and I find none of those student faces in the salsa club. Which means to me that most of the cha cha dancers in the club "fake it" so to speak, and if you dance on1 you're definitely a faker cuz no one teaches on1!

    How interesting! I can clearly hear the 2 (perhaps because I'm looking for it), so it sounds like 1, 2, 3, 4 & 1, 2, 3... or to us salsa dancers 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5, 6, 7, 8 & 1 ...
  14. AguaDulce

    AguaDulce Pattern Police

    I agree 100%.

    IMO, when you go to the roots, back in Africa, the drums were and still are used for the basis of communication. The theory of the tumbao and the clave seem to indicate something different than putting the empasis on the first beat of the music. Perhaps its more difficult to dance "off-beat" or between the music if you're not hitting those two drivers of the music.
  15. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    Depends...I was just listening to a Tito Puente Jr. version where the guiro hits on 1 and 5, so I can see it, but I'd only do it on2...well since I only know on2 :p

    On the original version, I don't understand the difference that you're referring to. I also hear that there is something that is playing the cord beats, it's not the cowbell, but something similar and blending with the cow bell (that is driving the cha cha rhythm). I'm hearing 1,2,3n4n5,6,7n8n in what would be a normal cha cha pattern for the steps. The actual musical pattern is different; it's syncopated after 3 all the way to 1, which is typical of plenty of cha chas as far as I know them. What am I missing?
  16. Salsamakossa

    Salsamakossa Shine Officer

    I don't do random chachachas when I am holding on to the follower unless I know she can follow it - there are actually some ballroom moves that allow that. I also do random chachachas when we are free styling. Would these pass your litmus test? :)

  17. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Capitán Del Estilo

    Yes, I haven't seen any salsa instructors teach it on1, even the teacher who advertises himself as LA-style. But when I took a ballroom class in college, I definitely recall learning it that way ("1-2-cha-cha-cha"). But the music was completely different too, much more orchestral (and drippy).
  18. Jag75

    Jag75 Rhythm Deputy


    I find the opposite - I initially learnt it On1 but this year in Jan started taking On2 privates, and also learned chacha On2, and now it makes a lot more sense than On1.

    Even the music - the actuall cha cha part happens on the 4th and 8th beats of the measure (the boom boom of the conga), which lends itself to dancing On2.

    Whenever cha cha comes on I always dance on2, and feel like I'm tarnishing the flow of the music if I dance it On1.

    Yeah, I'm a cha cha snob :)
  19. witchphd

    witchphd Son Montuno

    My entire experience with On2 salsa totals about 3 hours, and my preference is to dance cha cha On2. Though to be honest, I just find the cha-cha and everything else falls into place. I have a hard time trying to picture doing On1 to most of the music.
  20. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm Sonero

    terence - would you please explain guajira vs. cha a bit mroe? perhaps the distinction between what their time sig's look like, examples from popular numbers?

    also, is it common for the same song to be identifiable as both a cha and a guajira, leaving it up to the dancer to interpret ?

    and is the commonly understoond steps for on1 - cha (1-2-cha-cha-cha, or s-s-q-q-q breaking on 1) mroe apt for guajiras?

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