The Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic, That is the only fact that we have concerning its origin other that it was probably born in that country and/or Haiti, the neighboring island, There are many tales of its conception.There are two stories as to the origin of the Merengue’s characteristic limp. One story alleges the dance originated with slaves who were chained together and, out of necessity, were forced to drag one leg as they cut sugar cane to the beat of drums. Another story reports that when a popular returning war hero, wounded in the leg during one of the many revolutions in the Dominican Republic, tried to dance at a victory celebration given in his honor, he could only do so with a limp. Out of respect for him, the villagers also began dancing with a limp. However it came to be, this dance was very popular in the Dominican Republic in the mid 1800’s. Whatever the origin, Merengue arrived in New York in the 1940s, but was not immediately popular. However, it has enjoyed limited but constant success for many years.
Danced in 2/4 timing the music has two clear even beats to the bar that are played in a Marching rhythm. However, different styles allow for a various number of beats within each part of the bar.
This dance is fun and is probably the easiest dance to learn. Its basic movement is made up of simple side steps that progress in a counter-clockwise direction around the floor. It can be danced with a strong Cuban motion, and in fact, can be a good beginning for students that are being introduced to this style of hip motion. Various turning movements and changes of rhythms can be used, but the Merengue continues to “March” around the floor.
Merengue is characterized by a marching feeling in the steps as well as a “limp” or drag of one foot.
The footwork is generally “Ball Flat” throughout the dance. (Ball Flat is a term indicating that the ball of the foot is the first part of the foot to come in contact with the floor and will receive the pressure from the weight change before the rest of the foot. As the weight change is completed, the weight is then transferred to the Flat of the foot.)
It is primarily a non-progressive dance, ideally suited to the small, crowded dance floor; but if given the space, Merengue can also travel counter-clockwise around the floor.
Time signature: 2/4 or 4/4
Tempo: 55-60 or 29-32 measures per minute
Timing: 1234, 5678
Beat value: 1-1-1-1, 1-1-1-1
THE FOLLOWING MERENGUE VIDEOS ARE AVAILABLE NOW:
YOU-DANCE VIDEOS BEGINNER SERIES LEVEL SAMPLE : CLICK HERE
YOU-DANCE VIDEOS SERIES BEGINNER LEVEL-ONE : CLICK HERE
YOU-DANCE VIDEOS SERIES BEGINNER LEVEL-TWO : CLICK HERE