Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cha Cha Bronze Level Practice Routine

Bronze Level International Cha Cha practice choreography:
  1. Basic Movement In Place (234&1 23)
  2. Open Basic Movement (4&1 234&1) lock step
  3. Closed Basic Movement (234&1) quarter turn to L
  4. New York LSP (234&1)
  5. Underarm Turn To R (234&1)
  6. Fan (234&1 234&1)
  7. Hockey Stick (234&1 23)
  8. Three Cha Cha Chas Forward (4&1 2&3 4&1)
  9. Open Basic Movement (234&1)
  10. Natural Top (234&1 234&1 234&1)
  11. Natural Opening Out Movement (234&1)
  12. Closed Basic Movement (234&1 234&1)
  13. New York LSP (234&1)
  14. Three Cha Cha Chas Forward (2&3 4&1)
  15. New York RSP (234&1)
  16. Three Cha Cha Chas Forward (2&3 4&1)
  17. Spot or Switch Turn To R (Lady to L) (234&1) Lady timestep
  18. Spot or Switch Turn To L (Lady to R) (234&1) Man does time step
  19. There And Back (234&1 234&1)
  20. Closed Basic Movement (234&1)
  21. Underarm Turn To R (234&1)
  22. Side Step To Right commenced with LF (234&1)
  23. Fan (234&1)
  24. Alemana (234&1 234&1)
  25. Closed Hip Twist (234&1 234&1) end in open position
  26. Open Basic Movement (234&1)

Cha Cha Technique, Newcomer Figures

General Technique:
  • Legs are straight except when moving/turning.
  • Turn the body between beats, on '&'.
Basic: when stepping forward on 2:
  • body is lifted on 2: weight on front leg, pushing off ball of back foot to extend higher
  • check step on &: bend knee of back leg, as if some poked the back of the knee with a stick, back hip comes even, weight settles on front leg. Keep knees close together.
  • 3: push off front leg, move hip back, straighten back leg before placing weight on it
New Yorker:
  1. (previous beat) &: turn body 90 degree
  2. 2: forward step
  3. & check step, see above
  4. 3: weight on back foot
  5. &: turn 90 to face
  6. 4 (side) - & (together) -1 (side) - & (turn 90) [repeat #2]
Hand to Hand: it's like "reverse" New Yorker, don't over turn, be precise.

Should-to-shoulder: don't think of it as a turning step. face your partner, body slight turn, step outside partner.

Some international style coaches consider American rhythm dances are the lazy version of the international dances, because the knees are always bent.

Cha Cha Newcomer Practice Routine

Newcomer Level International Cha Cha practice routine:

  1. Basic Movement In Place (234&1 234&1)
  2. Open Basic Movement (23)
  3. Three Cha Cha Chas Back (4&1 2&3 4&1)
  4. Closed Basic Movement (234&1) w/ quarter turn
  5. New York LSP (234&1)
  6. New York RSP (234&1)
  7. Spot Turn To R (Lady to L) (234&1)
  8. Hand To Hand LSP (234&1)
  9. Hand To Hand RSP (234&1)
  10. Underarm Turn To R (234&1)
  11. Shoulder To Shoulder Left Side (234&1)
  12. Shoulder To Shoulder Right Side (234&1)
  13. Spot Turn To R (234&1) Lady: does time step.
  14. Spot Turn To L (Lady to R) (234&1) Man: does time step
  15. There And Back (234&1 234&1)
  16. Closed Basic Movement (234&1 234&1) last measure do quarter turn.
  17. Open Basic Movement (234&1 23)
  18. Three Cha Cha Chas Forward (4&1 2&3 4&1)
It uses all the ISTD Cha Cha Newcomer Syllabus steps.

Waltz frame, Posture, Position, Footwork

Some technique points on Waltz (also applicable to other Standard dances):
  • Maintain good posture. That means Man's head should not be leading the feet in forward motion.
  • Maintain good position. Our shoulders should be parallel to each other (not wrapped around). The right side of Lady's body should come to about Man's sternum, and vice versa.
  • Maintain a big top-line (arms and elbows out wide) with head tilting 1/8 to the left in closed position. Man and Lady balance against each other. This is why practicing by yourself doesn't quite cover it. The keyword here is to "maintain" the position.
  • Footwork is very important. has very detailed information on steps, timing, diagrams and footwork. Study!
  • Follow through on the steps. Sometimes Man and Lady gaps in between (this is obvious when the partners start dancing in contact). Man: avoid stopping abruptly at the end of a change, that would cause the separation.
  • Natural Turn and Reverse Turn: whoever is moving forward, drive it (bigger step, as this person is on the outside of the turn).
  • Closed Changes: When connecting Natural Turn and Reverse Turn, there is no turns on change steps. Don't cheat.

A new start: web site

Finally, we started our new website This is partly originated from our frustration at finding dance related information including dance steps, technique, etc. on the internet. We couldn't find any decent online calendars for any local dance studios either in the Seattle area. So we decided to build a web site and hopefully others will find it useful as well.