Merengue is the national dance for the Dominican Republic where it originated in the early 1800’s and became popular by the mid 1800’s. Merengue bands from the countryside typically included a vocalist backed by an accordion, a metal scraper and a double headed tambora drum played with a stick. Legend says the dance got its characteristic look from an old hero who had returned from battle with a wounded leg. While dancing, he couldn’t help but limp to one side. Out of respect, all the villagers started dancing with a limp.
Whatever its true origins, Merengue arrived in New York as early as the 1940’s, gradually becoming a part of the Latin Scene. The music has recently evolved into an international phenomenon, with musicians such as Juan Luis Guerra, popularizing its easy to follow beat.
Merengue is a fun and easy dance made up of simple steps. Primarily a non progressive dance, it can also travel counter clockwise around the floor. Noted for its Cuban motion, Merengue is also characterized by its “marching” feeling.