Latin  •  Latin America


One of the most ubiquitous of Latin dance styles, the Cha-Cha (or chachachá) developed either from the Cuban danzón of the 1870s or from a slower version of the mambo (called the "double mambo") in New York. By the early '50s, important Cuban charangas (large dance orchestras) like Orquesta Aragón were playing the cha-cha, and as part of a Latin craze, the dance spread like wildfire through American musical culture until almost every populist band needed to add a cha-cha on their LPs. Even in the late '60s, when salsa began taking over the Americanized Latin community, many leaders were placing cha-cha's in their sets and on their albums.