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Merengue dance originated in the Dominican Republic and is a very lively dance that can be picked up quite easily by beginners. This Merengue dancing style is a ‘4 beats-step dance’ and was created to be performed to the rhythm of the Merengue dance music.

In addition, dancing Merengue involves the performers starting off using a ‘closed’ position (i.e couple facing each other holding both hands), who then switch to an ‘open’ position (partners are standing apart, facing in the same direction holding one hand or not holding hands at all).

Furthermore, this dance is said to have evolved over the years into other forms such as the Modern Merengue and Merengue Tipico.

a. What is Merengue? Merengue Dance Origin and History:

Merengue origins starts from a historical fact stating that this dance form was developed by observing labourers working in the field in Dominican Republic. Furthermore, it so happened that these labourers were bound to each other by a chain which was then strapped to their ankles. It is these strapped ankles that then compelled the workers to walk by dragging along one leg. Thus it was this “dragging of the leg” movement used by the slaves on the field that was then developed into a dance form which was called “Merengue”.

b. The costume used in the Merengue Dance:

Since this dance style essentially involves both male and female the costume worn varies accordingly as follows:

1. For women:

The attire for female merengue dancers would include shirts that reveal the midriff, short skirts made from flowing fabric or a long pant possessing a slit that originates from the thigh area, and a pair of shoes.

2. For men:

The costume for male merengue dancers includes an open-collared type of shirt, dark slacks or jeans, and a pair of shoes.

c. Merengue Dancing Music:

The musical instruments used in the music produced for the Merengue dance style include an accordion, a bass guitar, guira, Dominican Tambora, piano, guitar, saxophone, trumpet, congas, trombone, and tuba. In addition, accompanying the vibrant music is a traditional Merengue song. Apparently, the first Merengue song for this dance style was written in 1844 and the lyrics are as follows:

Thomas huyó con la bandera

Thomas huyó de Talanquera

Si hubiera sido yo, no me habría huido,

Thomas huyó con la bandera

Which when translated in English literally means

Thomas fled with the flag

Thomas fled from Talanquera

If it had been I, I wouldn’t have fled,

Thomas fled with the flag

d. Training availability and Merengue Dance steps:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the use of a “closed position” in which the lead performer using the right-hand holds the waist of the follower.

At the same time, the leader with the use of the left-hand holds the right hand of the follower. In addition, this dance style also requires the performers to bend their knees slightly to the left and to the right which results in the hips moving towards the right and left as well.

Furthermore, the above mentioned intricate dance steps are carried out in complete harmony with the energetic beats of the music produced. If you are looking for how to Merengue dance, there are many training centres/schools available all around the globe, since this “vibrant” dance style like salsa has rapidly gained popularity over the years.

e. How to dance the Merengue (Merengue dancing Basic tutorial video for beginners explaining Merengue Dance Steps):

How Dance Merengue

Checkout 4 Merengue Dance Videos for Beginners

f. Some of the Best Merengue Dancer Videos :

Merengue Bachata Dance – Edwin & Dakota – Joan Soriano Maria Elena
Bailando Merengue en Republica Dominicana – Sabor a pueblo
Bailando Merengue Mambo Callejero

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