We teach Merengue as part of the Salsa 6 week courses. It is also taught on our Mixed Latin dance workshops that focus on a couple of dances over a 2.5 hour period
Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic, and also to some extent, of Haiti, however, it is thought that the dance originated in Cuba. There are a couple of versions of the of the origin of the Dominican national dance, the Merengue. I was told by a guy in Dominican Republic in 2003, that a great hero was wounded in the leg during one of the many revolution there. A party of locals gave him a welcome celebration party and out of sympathy, everyone danced with a limp, dragging one foot. Sounds plausible to me, hehehe. Merengue has existed since the early years of the Dominican Republic (in Haiti, a similar dance is called the Meringue). There are those who say the dance originated with slaves who were chained together and were forced to drag one leg as they cut sugar to the beat of drums It is possible the dance took its name from the confection made of sugar and egg whites because of the light and bubbly character of the dance or because of its short, precise rhythms. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the Merengue was very popular in the Dominican Republic. Not only is it used on every dancing occasion in the Republic, but it is very popular throughout the Caribbean and South America. There is a lot of variety in Merengue music.
Tempos vary a great deal and the Dominicans enjoy a sharp quickening in pace towards the latter part of the dance. The most favoured routine at the clubs and restaurants that run a dance floor is a slow Bolero, breaking into a Merengue, which becomes akin to a bright, fast Jive in its closing stages. I found that they like the fast, pacy Merengue tipico in the North of the Island The Merengue was introduced in the United States in the New York area. However, it did not become well known until several years later. Ideally suited to the small, crowded dance floors, it is a dance that is easy to learn and essentially a party dance that brings a smile to everyone’s face.