Learn About the
Merengue
An American Rhythm Dance

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Both Haiti and the Dominican Republic lay claim to the origin of the Merengue.  The influence of the African slaves and the Spanish Indians give the music both a Latin and a primitive feeling. 

There are two main styles; the Dominican "Lame Duck" style said to have developed out of sympathy for a ruler's limp, and a more Cuban style.  The music has a similar sound to the Samba, with less roll.  It is also considered a fun, festive dance and is probably the most popular dance danced all over the Latin countries.  It is also the “cruise” dance. 

The Merengue is essential to learning the techniques in all of the other Latin dances.  Correct foot, leg, hip and rib-cage action using a simple 4/4 beat makes more intricate rhythms easier.

 

Character: 

Fast, fun and  rhythmical, hip action is essential.

1. Controlled  ball/flat foot action
2.  Spot Dance, may use some Progression
3. Strong Cuban Motion and Rib-Cage action
4. Walks, Chasses, Rocks, Turns
5. Conga Rhythm variations and syncopations
6. Staccato Movement (Step - Hold)
 

Footwork:

Ball/Flat throughout

 

Note 1.  When steps are taken to the side (chasses), a rolling of the foot from the inside edge to a  flat foot can be used to help create hip action.

 Note 2.  In forward & back steps lower only one heel at a time.  When one heel lowers, raise the other.

Tempo: 

29 - 32 MPM

Count:

American Rhythms use counts of 8 beats, or 16 beats for most variations (combinations of 8 counts)
For Example:

1   2   3    4    5    6    7    8

There are various other counts that can also be used.

 

Note 1.  The Left foot gets the "odd" counts, for the man, the Right foot gets the "even" counts.  However, the weight transfer is delayed a beat.

 
This content is intended as general information and should not be used in lieu of an actual dance class to learn the aforementioned dance.
 

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