The cha-cha-cha hails from Cuba. It is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrin in the early 1950s. This rhythm was developed from the danzón-mambo. Jorrín worked as a violinist and composer with the "charanga" (traditional ensemble that plays Cuban dance music) group Orquesta América. The group performed at dance halls in Havana where they played danzón, danzonete, and danzon-mambo for dance-oriented crowds. Jorrín noticed that many of the dancers at these gigs had difficulty with the syncopated rhythms of the danzón-mambo. To make his music more appealing to dancers, Jorrín began composing songs where the melody was marked strongly on the first downbeat and the rhythm was less syncopated. When they performed these new compositions at the Silver Star Club in Havana, it was noticed that the dancers had improvised a triple step in their footwork producing the sound "cha-cha-cha". Thus, the new style came to be known as "cha-cha-cha" and became associated with a dance where dancers perform a triple step.
Check out this awesome performance by one of our students!