Merengue, A Passionate Latin Dance

Published on by CMe




Merengue, A Passionate Latin Dance


El hombre dominicano es machista, quiere que sus órdenes sean cumplidas. Pero a sus mujeres no les gusta cumplirlas, y de alli vienen sus pleitos. Bachata es una defensa de los hombres.

The most representative form of Merengue only survives in the rural areas of the Dominican Republic. It consists of paseo (walk), body and "jaleo". In time the walk disappeared, the body has been extended and the jaleo has been alienated by the insertion of exotic rhythms. 

These days, dancing the merengue is like marching where you step left right left right left right in time to the music. Merengue is done with the man holding the woman in a vals-like position, they step to the side (paso de la empalizada - stick fence step). Turn clockwise or counter clockwise while maintaining closed dance position (merengue de salón) or individually perform turns while holding onto at least one hand of their partner (merengue de figura)

The Moves music has the tempo and rhythm of festive character of the marching music. The dance figures can be spontaneous and very improvisational. They can also be sexy and a little wild.

The basic footwork pattern is The basic step can be thought of as step, close, step, close, step, close, step, close. 

Some teachers call out the timing as Merengue music and the basic step may be counted: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. Counting to eight is also very popular. This is appropriate for the even tempo left, right, left, right, step timing. Most patterns require 4 beats or eight beats of music. Like disco music, merengue music has heavy down beats on every count. 

The basic step is easy. The key to looking good is in the body action. It’s not the moves you do but how you move that’s important. Learning the Merengue is a good way to start familiarizing yourself with Cuban Motion, which is the way that your body moves in all the Latin dances. Cuban motion, specifically hip action is an essential defining element of the dance. Cuban motion results from the alternate bending and straightening of the knees. As a knee bends, the same hip drops. As a knee straightens, the same hip is pushed up and out. Thus the hips move up and down. Again the secret is this: as a knee bends to release weight in preparation for stepping, the same hip should drop. The up and down hip action can be practiced by standing in place and alternately bending and straightening the knees.

Merengue Dance Steps for Passionate Latin Dancers 
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you have been exposed to merengue, you already know that this combines wonderfully quick moves with a great deal of grace. If you have ever been interested in learning merengue dance steps, there has never been a better time to start. Many people are a little bit intimidated by the look of the dance put together, but as with any complex series of moves , you’ll find that breaking it down will go a long way towards getting you the start that you need.

One of the most basic merengue dance steps is the Side Basic step or movement. In this movement, the man starts with his weight planted on his right leg, but on the first beat, he is going to touch his right foot to the inside edge of the left foot. On the half count, he will roll his left foot forward onto the floor. On the next beat, the man should bring his right foot up to center, recreating the pose from the beginning. The woman will do complementary steps and you will find that. This is the most basic step that you will find in terms of merengue and it is quite easy; simply work on making sure that your merengue dance steps match the rhythm. 

The Forward Basic merengue dance step is usually executed after the step mentioned up. Starting with his weight on the right leg, the man then swings his right leg forward and in, and then on the half beat, the left foot rolls flat on the floor and the weight is shifted to it. Then, on the second beat, the left foot is slid forward to return to the start position, with the female partner doing the inverse, which is usually called a Back Basic merengue dance step. With this in mind, this is an excellent step to do in quick succession, forward and back. Work with your partner and work on getting your movements as smooth as possible. The beauty of the merengue is made up of the cooperation of two partners moving across the floor.

When you are learning merengue, you will soon see that it is considered an asymmetrical dance for a very good reason. The same leg is used to start off every basic move, a mnemonic that is an excellent learning tool for many beginners to remember. Remember that when you are working on getting the merenegue dance steps right, you should keep in mind the action of your hips. The more synchronized you can be with your partner, the more smooth and fluid your movements will look. Typically, when you are working on the merengue dance, the responsibility for the synchronized rests with the partner who is leading due to the fact that they ultimately have a great deal more control over the overall movement of the dance.

When you are learning the rhythm of the dance, which some would say is a much more difficult yet fulfilling enterprise. Most teachers will tell you that when you are working on learning merengue dance steps, one of the first things that you need to do is to get to know the music and find out how it moves you. If necessary, learn to count the beats in your head and visualize yourself doing the steps. The real art of the dance comes from incorporating movement and music, so that both are enhanced.

When you are learning merengue dance steps, keep in mind that cooperation with your partner is one of the most important parts. Having a partner who has more experience or is willing to learn at the rate that you do is important, so make sure that you work with them closely. You can learn a lot about timing in this fashion, and as any teacher will tell you, successful timing of your merengue dance steps is quite important.

Whether you learn from DVD’s, books or in person instructors, you’ll find that there are plenty of reasons to learn the basics and build up. You’ll be surprised by how fast you master the merengue dance step basics, and then you’ll be able to devote the rest of your time to the refinement of this art!
  1. CLOSED POSITION Stand facing your partner. Place your partner's left hand on your right shoulder. Put your right hand your partner's waist and hold her right hand in your left hand at eye level with elbows bent, knees relaxed, and weight evenly distributed on both feet.
  2. SIDE BASIC MOVEMENT Moving to the left, step on the left foot on the count of 1. Drag the right foot to the left foot and step on the count of 2. Continue moving to the left four times, counting 12121212. Do not put weight on the last drag step so that you can reverse the step to the right.
  3. FORWARD BASIC MOVEMENT Step forward on the left foot on the count of 1. Drag the right foot to the left foot and step on the count of 2. Continue moving forward four times, counting 12121212. When you move forward, your partner will move backward.
  4. BACK BASIC MOVEMENT Step back on the left foot on the count of 1. Drag the right foot to the left foot and step on the count of 2. Continue moving back four times, counting 12121212. When you move backward, your partner will move forward.
  5. Combine the movements any way you like, taking eight steps, or eight counts, to complete one movement. You may add fundamental ballroom turns within the basic movements.

Learn To Dance Merengue, Beginning and Intermediate: A Step-By-Step Guide To Merengue Dancing
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