The cha-cha-cha, or simply cha-cha, is the name of a dance of Cuban origin. It is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique JorrĀ¬an in 1953. This rhythm was developed from the danzan by a syncopation of the fourth beat. The name is onomatopoeic, derived from the rhythm of the gairo (scraper) and the shuffling of the dancers' feet.

The ballroom style of dancing the cha-cha-cha comes from studies made by dance teacher Monsieur Pierre(Pierre Zurcher-Margolle), who partnered Doris Lavelle.

Pierre, then from London, visited Cuba in 1952 to find out how and what Cubans were dancing at the time. He noted that this new dance had a split fourth beat, and to dance it one started on the second beat, not the first. He brought this dance idea to England and eventually created what is now known as ballroom cha-cha-cha.

The validity of his analysis is well established for that time, and some forms of evidence exist today. First, there is in existence film of Orquesta Jorrin playing to a cha-cha-cha dance contest in Cuba; second, the rhythm of the Benny More classic Santa Isabel de las Lajas written and recorded at about the same time is quite clearly syncopated on the fourth beat. Also, note that the slower bolero-son ("rumba") was always danced on the second beat.