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Lifestyle

Merengue

By Arthur Murray

 

Merengue is the simplest dance to learn. Its uncomplicated timings makes it easy to feel the music.

 

History:

There are two schools of thought as to how this captivating dance began. One says it started as a peasant dance in the Dominican Republic by African Slaves. Another says a returning war hero, a General Maringie, danced dragging an injured leg. Whatever its origin, today’s exciting rhythm of the Merengue inspires dancers all over the world to move to its intoxicating beat.

 

Music:

Merengue music is written in 2/4, 4/4 or 6/8 time. The rhythmical accent will occur on the first beat of each measure.

 

Characteristics:

Walking steps and side steps (chasse) are the basic componenets of Merengue. This dance is introduced as a marching dance but can be developed into a very rhythmical dance. With “Cuban Motion” and animated body movement, the Merengue gives a festive party appeal.

 

Teaching Elements

  • Basic Movement           “Lame Duck” motion
  • Advanced Motion           Cuban Motion
  • Movement Isolation       Leg and hip action without/with body action
  • Leading action                  Body, shoulder, arms, hand and visual
  • Timing Variety                  Half time, double time or syncopated rhythm
  • Tempo Interpretation     Movement variation to accent music or play with it
  • Compare/Contrast           Fox Trot, Rumba, Hustle

 

Merengue songs and artists include:

Hot, Hot, Hot – Buster Poindexter

Jump In The Line – Harry Belafonte

Cuban Pete – Jim Carey