What is the Merengue?
The Merengue is a travelling dance, that is fun, light and joyous. It can just look like stepping to the side for 8 steps, but coupled with Cuban motion, weight changes and a strong, proud torso, the Merengue is far from easy. It is fast, fun and fancy.
Rhythm: 1,2,3,4 5,6,7,8.
Merengue music has evolved into an international phenomenon, with musicians such as Juan Luis Guerra popularising its easy to follow beat. It is in 4/4 time with a tempo of 29 to 32bpm.
History of the Merengue
The history of this dance is contradictory, but it has been traced to both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, who are in fact neighbours. The dance was said to have been created by slaves whose chains did not give them the freedom to move.
Another theory was that slaves were mocking their rich, French masters who enjoyed dancing the stiff Minuet. But the salves took it to another level, adding hip movements, turns and Cuban motion to add further ‘insult’.
The Merengue was banned in 1941 seen as scandalous at the time. But the dance took off in the following decades in social and dance halls, and is now a much loved dance for beginners to the Cuban motion dances.