Merengue: The Passion in Music & Dance Styles

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Merengue: The Passion in Music & Dance Styles

 
 

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.

   
Merengue is a type of lively, joyful music and dance that comes from the Dominican Republic.

Origins are traced to the second half of 18th century, but are still disputed.

The ballroom version of merengue (merengue de salón), in its easiest form looks as follows.

With monotonous thumping 1-2-3-4 bass drum beat, all steps are on one beat and have a characteristic limping appearance. Sometimes this step is called "paso de la empalizada" (pole-fence step). There are also legends about a limping war hero (or El Presidente of a banana republic himself, in some versions) who had to step in this way while dancing because of wounds, and polite (or clueless) public imitated him.

Partners hold each other in closed position and do walks sideways or circle each other, in small steps. They can further switch to a double handhold position and do separate turns never letting go each other's hands. During these turns they may twist and tie their handhold into intricate pretzels. Other choreography is possible.

Although the tempo of the music may be frantic, the upper body is kept majestic and turns are slow, typically four beats/steps per complete turn.

In the social dancing of the USA the "empalizada" style is replaced by exaggerated Cuban motion, taught in chain ballroom studios for dances of Latin American origin (Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Mambo, Salsa).

Ballroom Merengue
http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2005/09/29/mad_hot_ballroom_magpie_050928035905085_wideweb__300x500.jpgThe ballroom version of Merengue (merengue de salón), in its easiest form looks as follows. 

With monotonous thumping 1-2-3-4 bass drum beat, all steps are on one beat and have a characteristic limping appearance. Sometimes this step called paso "de la empalizada" (pole-fence step). There are also legends about a limping war hero (or El Presidente of a banana republic himself, in some versions) who had to step in this way while dancing because of wounds, and polite (or clueless) public imitated him. 

Partners hold each other in closed position and do walks sideways or circle each other, in small steps. They can further switch to a double handhold position and do separate turns never letting go each other's hands. During these turns they may twist and tie their handold into intricate pretzels . Other choreography is possible. 

Although the tempo of the music may be frantic, the upper body is kept majestic and turns are slow, typically four beats/steps per complete turn. 

In the social dancing of the USA the "empalizada" style is relpaced by exaggerrated Cuban motion, taught in chain ballroom studios for dances of Latin American origin ( Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Mambo, Salsa). 

 

 

 

 


 

 


Club Merengue
Club merengue evolved significantly from "formal" ballroom style. The main differences are much more erotic, suggestive way of dancing and much less serious attitude. All "ballroom" figures are danced, in addition dancers may dance in separation, similarly to Shine s known in Salsa. Merengue shines much more suggestive or silly. 

The basic step may be different from the ballroom "empalizada" or "Cuban" versions. Some do it in the Mashed Potato style. Others employ rotational movement of hips that comes from knees. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Folk Merengue
http://www.afropop.org/img/world_music/african_music/webreadypix/MerengueMerengue_prgmpix.jpgFolk Merengue is still preserved in Dominican rural areas. There's a tendency to move the hips in full circles. 

4 Relation to other dances
Merengue is often played in Salsa clubs. It is surprising to see how people there are differentiated with respect to Merengue. 

Dance patterns of Merengue and the "limpness" of the basic step show significant similarity with Cajun One StepCajun Jitterbug also called Cajun One Step is the simplest one of all Cajun dances. It has only one step! It is danced under fast Cajun music. Despite the single kind of step, variations of the handhold combined with turns give the dance infinitely many d ( Cajun JitterbugSome people use the term for Cajun One Step. Other people consider is as kind of Jitterbug.), although they limp in a totally different way :-).


 

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