Need some songs for dancing the cha-cha? Here are 10 classic and modern ones to choose from!
The cha-cha-cha (or simply the cha-cha) is a Cuban dance that’s named after the Cuban composer Enrique Jorrin. Jorrin was a violinist and composer back in the 1950s who played the danzon, donzonette, and danzon-mambo at dance halls in Havana. However, due to the syncopated rhythm of the danzo-mambo, he noticed that many dancers had difficulty in keeping up with the rhythm. His solution was to create music that dancers could easily dance to – a triple-step footwork that creates the cha-cha-cha sound.
The cha-cha is often danced to authentic Cuban music, Latin Pop, or Latin Rock. The basic pattern of this dance involves the lead taking a checked step forward with the left foot, and then the weight is returned to the right leg on the third beat. The partner of the lead then does the exact same movement, which keeps the two dancers at an even proximity from one another. Other movements like twirls and exchanging positions can also be done.
The cha-cha is an easy enough dance to perform, though it can require some practice. If you would like to practice the dance at home or if you’re just looking for some great songs to dance the cha-cha to, we’ve got a great selection below.
Michael Buble – Save the Last Dance for Me
Originally performed the The Drifters, Save the Last Dance for Me has become a popular dance song that cha-cha dancers have come to love. European pop star Dalida, country singer Emmylou Harris, and the elegant Dolly Parton have also covered this song. However, it’s Michael Buble’s cover that is most often played in dance halls for its easy, cha-cha-friendly rhythm.
The song was written by Doc Pomus, who unfortunately suffered from polio and thus needed crutches to walk around. It’s a song he wrote for his wife, who loved to dance. In the song, he asks her that no matter who she dances with on the dance floor, it’s always Doc who will get the last dance with her.
Santana – Oye Como Va
This song was written by the salsa legend, Tito Puente, back in the early 50s. His original version was very popular in the Latin community, but it was Santana’s cover that brought the song and Tito Puente out to a wider international audience. The song has very minimal lyrics, which goes, “Oye com ova me ritmo, bueno pa gozar, Mulatta.” It translates to, “Listen to my rhythm, good for fun, mulata.” A mulata is a woman of Caucasian and Negro-African descent.
Enrique Iglesias – Bailamos
Bailamos literally translates to “we dance” or “let’s dance,” and that instantly makes it a great song for dancing the cha-cha. The song is a seductive dance track wherein the protagonist is asking a woman to come with him to the dance floor. He wants them both to seize their freedom as they dance through the night.
Lou Bega – Angelina
There’s no way we can make a playlist of cha-cha songs without one of Lou Bega’s biggest hits! Angelina is a song written specifically for the cha-cha, as you can see in the lyrics. In this song, the singer pleads with the titular Angelina to be with him. He wants to spend the entire night with her, with dinner and dancing the cha-cha (perhaps of the vertical variety) all throughout the night.
It’s catchy, blatantly sexual, and still one of the biggest modern hits that cha-cha dancers love to dance to. With its clear beat, it’s also a great song for those who are just starting to learn the cha-cha.
Jennifer Lopez- Let’s Get Loud
Jennifer Lopez lends her angelic voice to all the cha-cha lovers out there with this party track. Let’s Get Loud was written by the legendary Gloria Estefan along with Kike Santander. According to critics, it’s a fiery, soulful song that fits right in with Jennifer Lopez’ persona.
In terms of lyrics, it’s about letting loose and living your life the way you want to. The song urges the listener to treat life like a party where you can dance along to whatever the rhythm it throws at you. This makes it a wonderfully upbeat song to dance to!
Jessica Jay – Chilly Cha Cha
Many of the songs on this list ask you to rely on the beat to know when to dance each step. But with this playful dance track, it’s the lyrics that get the rhythm going. Its upbeat and quick tempo allows you to really get your heart rate pumping, though perhaps it’s best to dance to this song once you’ve mastered your cha-cha steps. However, if you’re just looking for an upbeat and modern cha-cha song where you can practice your rhythm, Jessica Jay’s Chilly Cha Cha is by far the best song to dance to!
Marc Antony – Dimelo
If you’re a regular at a Latin dance hall, there’s no way you haven’t heart this song! The beat really gets you moving and it might even urge you to try a few more adventurous cha-cha steps. And to add to that, Marc Antony’s sultry voice will have you feeling wild and passionate with your partner as you dance!
If you’re not familiar with the title of this song, you might know it better as I Need to Know in its English version. Dimelo in Spanish literally translates to “Say it to me.”
Santana feat. Rob Thomas – Smooth
If you need a song that will leave you feeling all hot and bothered as you dance, there’s no other tune to turn to! Smooth is a fiery Latin rock song that Thomas rewrote for his wife, Marison Maldonado. In the lyrics, there’s a line that goes, “You’re my Spanish Harlem Mona Lisa.” This line was taken from Elton John’s Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, which references a line from Ben E. King’s Spanish Harlem.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Beiber – Despacito
If you’re reading this list in 2017, we’re sure you’re very familiar with one of the catchiest hits of the year. Despacito is undoubtedly one of the most iconic songs of the year, with over 20 million views on YouTube. However, to cha-cha lovers, it’s an awesome modern song with the perfect rhythm!
Michael Buble – Sway
We started this list with Buble, and we’re capping it off with Buble as well. It may have been written and initially recorded by Dean Martin, but it’s Michael Buble’s version that brought it closer to the hearts of modern listeners and dancers alike. Simply put, it’s a song about dancing. The singer is starting to fall in love with his dance partner as the rest of the dancers on the dance floor seem to disappear. It’s as if they’re the only two people on the dance floor, and he can’t help but admit that she has a way with him that he can’t resist.
It’s time to practice your cha-cha with these dance tracks! Whether you want to dance to the ultra-catchy Despacito, the sexy and sultry Dimelo, or the hit party track Let’s Get Loud, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect cha-cha song in this comprehensive list!