7 Deadly Mistakes in a Cha Cha Forward Lock (and how to fix them)

Cha Cha Forward Lock steps

Tis the season to make your Cha Cha Forward Lock awesome! “But what about my back locks?”, you may ask. Well, one thing at a time young padawan! As you are practicing, be sure to check that you are doing your Cha Cha Locks the correct way with this handy guide!

​PS: Forward Locks are also called Chasses, take a look at all the chasses that are used in the International Cha Cha dance style here.

Mistake #1: Knees Bent The Whole Time

Practice Tips:

Cha Cha Lock Technique – Knee Action

1st Step: Both Knees Straight
2nd Step: Both Knees Slight Bend
3rd step: Both Knees Straight

Mistake #2: Knees Too Straight The Whole Time

Practice Tips:

Cha Cha Lock Technique ​- Leg Action
​When your foot moves, bend that knee.

Mistake #3: Keeping Back Heel Down

Practice Tips:

Cha Cha Lock Technique ​- Back Foot Action
The Heel of the Back Foot stays off the floor throughout the Forward Lock step.

Mistake #4: Taking A Heel Lead

Practice Tips:


Cha Cha Lock Technique – Front Foot Action
Keep your Toes on the ground. The front foot will have a Toe, Ball, Heel lowering action for the 1st and 3rd steps of the Lock.

Mistake #5: Knees Wide Open

Practice Tips:

Cha Cha Lock Technique – Sexy Leg Action
Keep your Knees/ Inner Thighs close for the 2nd step of the Lock.

Mistake #6: Flip Flopping Hips

Practice Tips:

Cha Cha Lock Technique – Hip Action
Hips rotate in opposition to the leg you are moving. i.e.: Moving the right leg forward, left hip rotates back and vice versa.

Mistake #7: Bouncing

Practice Tips:

​Keep it Cool
Bouncing in Cha Cha is not cool!

To eliminate the bounce:
Visualize keeping a pail of water on your head and not letting it spill.

Warning: Do not use real pail of water. (Some believe that the California drought was from Latin dancers working on this. ;)) 

A final word about the Cha Cha Forward Lock:

Since the Cha Cha Forward Lock is EVERYWHERE, get this down and you will see tremendous improvement in your cha cha dance. It’s always a good idea to give yourself time for slow technique practice, where you are not worrying about the music or performance. Then, spend time on musical practice where you work on incorporating these  techniques to the music.

Doing it a toe lead is unnatural? Doing Hip Action is unnatural? Thinking to yourself: “Why didn’t my mom give birth to me this way? Dang it.” Oh well… I guess you’re just like the rest of us! So, here are 5 exercises, only 5 minutes a day that can strengthen, increase flexibility, and help improve those “unnatural movements”.

Guilty of any of the above mistakes? Drop me a comment below!


  • Shannon
    August 4, 2017

    you forgot to add LEAVING the door UNLOCKED by not closing the back leg up to the front leg

    • User Avatar
      LiWen Ang
      August 4, 2017

      Thanks for the comment, Shannon! I like the way you put it: Leaving the Door Unlocked! hah. 🙂 Good for #5.

  • Lapway Chang
    May 18, 2017

    Thanks for the ChaCha Technique tips.You’re a wonderful dancer and instructor.

    • User Avatar
      LiWen Ang
      May 19, 2017

      Lapway! Thanks so much. Love hearing from you and glad that you find these tips useful. 🙂

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