HISTORY

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.

CHARACTERISTICS

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.

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