What makes this dance recognizable? What is typical, distinctive or characteristic?

Easy steps on eight equivalent counts, but this is the ass shaker /turner par excellence. Between the fourth and the first beat you hear a drumroll on the tambora.


Follow the leader - Soca Boys
Maria - Ricky Martin
Visa para una sueno - Juan Luis Guerra


Origin of name: unknown, Haiti.

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Merengue is sometimes also a meringue, but that will have nothing to do with it.

The exact origin of the Merengue is unknown. The traditional Merengue is certainly originated from African slaves and brought by traditional percussion and vocals, mixed with influences from the Taíno and Spanish music. There are however also clear influences from other Latin American genres noticeable. It is a very cheerful Latin American music and very danceable and easy to boot.

The Dominican Republic shares with Haiti the island of Hispaniola. On this island in the agricultural region Siboa the merengue originated in the first half of the 19th century. The story goes that this happened just after the Dominican revolution against Haiti, then still the French St. Dominique. A 'Haitian' soldier left his post so the Dominicans won a strategically important battle. In order to embarrass their enemy there was a farcical song written about it: the merengue was born.

As in all Caribbean territories also the residents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic descent from Africans. They were shipped to America in colonial times as a slave. Their music has thus a typical African rhythms.

Merengue came as culturally turn off against the neighbors. Despite this danceable folk music exhibits suspiciously similarities to that of the neighboring country: the mereng.

After slavery, the Dominican Republic is building in the course of the nineteenth century, good trade relations with Germany. Through this country the accordion makes its appearance in the music and the merengue gets his own color. In the course of time, the occupation of merengue orchestras expanded with piano and wind instruments. From the seventies and eighties of the twentieth century, there are influences from other styles like salsa, compa, zouk and reggae, but also of both pop and rap and house. This is done in the Dominican Republic, but also in places where many Dominican immigrants live, as in New York.

The traditional merengue is played with a tambora, a drum that with a stick as well as with a hand is played. He creates the unmistakable rumble between the fourth and the first beat. Then there is the " guiro", a metal grater, which is usually played with an afro comb and makes a high rasping, honing up hissing. Indispensable in the traditional merengue, merengue tipico either, is the accordion. Very quickly, the merengue is extended with a saxophone. Which plays an important role in the tireless response to the vocals. Later, were added again: the piano, a horn, bongos and other percussion and synthesizers. Often, these additions were gained at the expense of the accordion.

The merengue is used in its history for many political purposes. So he was just after its creation used to put themselves against neighbor country Haiti.

During the 19th century, the genre was mostly seen by the upper classes as a for lower people.

In the thirties of the 20th century, the Merengue was given a ride because it was used as a propaganda tool by the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. He explained the merengue to national music. At that time large Merengue Festivals were organized and the accompanying music was constantly on the radio. After his death, the Merengue remained an important part of the culture.

Since the sixties, the development of a true merengue boomed with the introduction of new instruments and techniques. The modern merengue now is popping out of your speakers with bands as the Coco Band, Rockabanda, Frescabanda and Rikarena. However, all these bands keep it stuck to the roots of the merengue, the guiro and saxophone almost never fail and the tambora you usually find back. This you cannot always tell of the hybrids in which rap or reggae or disco have the upper hand.

Famous merengue musicians include Juan Luis Guerra, Elvis Crespo, Kinito Mendez, Johnny Ventura, Fernandito Villalona, Miriam Cruz, and Las Chicas Del Can.

The dance

It is claimed that the typical dance movement emerged from the steps of slaves chained together, but there is no certainty.

This national dance of the Dominican Republic is characterized by its seductive hip movements. Usually, the variations are simple.

Merengue became popular again a few years ago with the introduction of the Soca, a fashion dance that was entirely based on.

In the basic step (viewed from the gentleman) the left foot goes sideways to the left without support. The right leg stays straight so the left hip remains low (count 1). Now, the body weight is transferred to the left foot. Simultaneously, the left leg stretched so the left hip comes up. The right leg relaxes allowing the right hip to drop, and the right foot is closed. The right hip is thus low and the right knee is bent (count 2). Finally, the weight comes back on the right foot, the leg is stretched so that the right hip is lifted up and at the same time the left foot placed sideways. The essence of dance is this hip movement. This is around and walked back and forth, and can be made ​​figurines.