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.


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