The ballroom version of merengue (merengue de
salón), in its easiest form looks as follows.
With a 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 learning the merengue 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 merengue 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" merengue
style is replaced by exaggerated Cuban motion, taught in chain
ballroom studios for dancing the merengue of Latin American origin
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When joining our merengue dance classes or private dance
lessons, note that our OUT to Dance studio locations, West Roxbury
and Roslindale, are within twenty minutes of downtown Boston,
Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Brighton, Allston, Brookline,
Newton, Chestnut Hill, Dedham, Norwood, Needham, Westwood, Milton
and Quincy; and within 25 to 35 minutes of Cambridge, Somerville,
Arlington, Wellesley, Natick, Waltham, Braintree, Brockton, Stoughton,
Canton, Foxboro, Weymouth and surrounding towns. We are also less than an hour from Providence, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.