If you are looking for the best Latin dance lessons in Raleigh, NC then you have come to the right place. Latin dancing is popular on the ballroom dance floor, but often people are confused about the differences between cha cha, salsa, merengue, and bachata. You may be wondering what is the difference between all these dances? Let us break it down for you. 

Cha Cha

The cha cha is a Rhythm Dance similar to Merengue in that both dances use a triple-step rhythm. Dancers step forward on their right foot, which makes a quarter turn clockwise, then step across with their left foot to make another quarter turn before finally stepping back on the right foot. While you’re doing these steps, your upper body will move from side to side with your arms bent at your elbow and held in front of your body. Finally, when you get into an open position after learning this dance, you’ll dance with your bodies close to each other and your right hands in an upper-hand position with palms facing up.


Salsa is most often danced with the triple step rhythm where step-together-step, like Merengue. However, Salsa also uses another common dance rhythm known as “quick – quick – slow”, which is when you dance on both feet for one count (quick), then dance on the same foot twice in succession for another count (slow), then switch to the opposite foot twice in succession (quick) before switching back again (slow). This means that while dancing salsa, you will be moving around the dance floor rather than standing still.


The rhythm of dance is similar to the triple-step used in Cha Cha and Salsa, but Merengue uses a slow – slow – quick – quick count. Specifically, you dance on your left foot for two counts (slow), then dance one count on your right before switching back again (quick), then dance on your left foot again (slow), then dance one more time on your right (quick). This makes it easier to dance Merengue when it gets faster because this type of rhythm does not require constantly counting like Cha Cha or Salsa.


Before learning Bachata, you need to be able to dance in an open position because this dance is danced with the man’s left hand on the woman’s back and their right hands in a lower-hand position (meaning palms face down). Therefore, in order to dance Bachata, you must know how to dance both those steps as well as move your hips from side to side while keeping your feet close together. In addition, one of the many dance rhythms that can be used for dancing the Bachata is “quick – quick” which means that step twice on each foot before switching. Finally, unlike Cha Cha and Salsa where they use a dance floor circle, Bachata dance is done in a closed dance position.

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