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American Style Cha Cha
Progressive Basic
1b. Progressive Basic
Fact Sheet
Official Name:Progressive Basic
Dance / Level:Beginning Bronze American Style Cha Cha
Aliases:Open Basic, Forward and Back Basic
Suggested
Prerequisites:
None

The Cha Cha Progressive Basic is a 10-step pattern consisting of a combination of alternating rock steps and progressive (forward & backward) chasses taken in closed or open facing position, to the rhythm 2,3,4&1. Each rock step is danced on counts 2,3, each chasse on counts 4&1.

The rock steps of a Cha Cha Progressive Basic alternate forward and backward, the left foot taking the forward rock, the right foot taking the back rock.

The Chasses are taken forward (forward-close-forward) and backward (back-close-back). The left foot takes the backward chasse following the forward rock step, and the right foot takes the forward chasse following the back rock step.

The Cha Cha Progressive Basic can also be danced with partners standing completely apart. This is the foundation for the syllabus pattern known as The Chase.

Chasse Alternatives

Two actions commonly used in place of the chasses are lock steps and progressive runs.

Progressive runs are a series of 3 small passing steps forward or backward on counts 4&1 of the Progressive Basic. The left foot takes the backward progressive runs following the forward rock step, and the right foot takes the forward progressive runs following the back rock step. The footwork of the first two forward runs can be ball or ball-flat, while the third forward run is always ball-flat. Likewise, the footwork of the first two backward runs can be ball or ball-flat, while the third backward run is always ball-heel.

Forward and backward lock steps are a series of 3 steps taken to the counts 4&1, where the second step is crossed, e.g.:

Forward Lock

  • (4) RF forward, ball-flat
  • (&) Cross LF behind RF, ball
  • (1) RF forward, ball-flat

Back Lock

  • (4) LF back, ball
  • (&) Cross RF in front of LF, ball-flat
  • (1) LF back, ball-heel

Ideally the choice of chasse, lock or progressive runs on counts 4&1 should be determined by the man. The lead can be communicated through the frame when in closed position and by the connected arms and hands while in open facing, by the way the man moves his body and by maintaining tone in the arms and frame. As the dancers are moving in tandem, it should not be necessary to change the positions of the arms themselves; The lead can be communicated purely through the way he moves his body.

To lead the progressive runs, the man should increase his forward/backward. momentum on counts 4&1 in such a way that the lady feels inclined to pass her feet on the "&" count. It should not be necessary to take larger steps.

To lead the lock step, the man should have a slight right side leading on his forward chasse, and a slight left side leading on his backward chasse. This slight body turn gives the lady the indication that the foot should cross on the "&" count.

The skill required in leading one type of progressive Cha Cha action over another is quite high, but it is even greater when the dance position has fewer contact points. The difficulty level is highest in open facing position with only a single hand connection, but it is not impossible to achieve with practice. If the lady dances a different Cha Cha action than the man intends, it may feel imperfect, but this type of missed lead isn't severe enough to bring the dancing to a halt.

In apart position, there is no way for the man to express his intention fast enough for the lady to follow with purely visual cues, but without partner contact there is little need to dance the exact same type of progressive Cha Cha action. In this case, the lady is free to choose the actions of her choice, provided she maintains a reasonably consistent spacing from the man.

 

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