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