How to dance the Cha-cha-cha like a Strictly star

Everything you need to know to perform a charming dance

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Strictly Come Dancing returns tonight, and with the sparkling competition set to dominate our weekends from now until Christmas, we decided it was time we learnt a little more about all things ballroom dancing.

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Don’t know your Rumba from your Paso Doble, or your Waltz from your Jive? Here’s the lowdown on everything you need to know about the dances this year’s celebrities will be performing…

What is the Cha-cha-cha?

Named for the distinctive shuffling sound of the dancers feet, the Cha-cha-cha is of Cuban origin, where it was first danced to the music of the same name by composer Enrique Jorrin.

How do you do it?

A lively, sassy, groovy dance, the Cha-cha-cha is all about small steps and swaying hip movements, performed to a Latin American rhythm. It’s a partnership dance, which means the leader controls the flow of the dance, guiding the follower who tries to match the leader’s movements and timing.

If you want to dance along at home, this how-to-guide will give you an easy run-down of the Cha-cha-cha steps.

What’s the best Cha-cha-cha we’ve seen on Strictly?

Eventual winner (and future judge) Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler drove the judges wild in series 5 with this saucy number set to Beyonce’s Crazy in Love, earning a near-perfect score of 38.

Which stars are dancing the Cha-cha-cha tonight?

Anastacia and Brendan – dancing to Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera, Mya, Lil’ Kim and Pink!

Claudia and AJ – dancing to What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

Danny and Oti – dancing to Cake by the Ocean by DNCE

Judge Rinder and Oksana – dancing to Mercy by Duffy

Laura and Giovanni – dancing to Venus by Shocking Blue

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Melvin and Janette – dancing to Loco in Acapulco by the Four Tops