Archive for November, 2009

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!

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The merengue is the national music of the Dominican Republic and is played to accompany the very popular folk dance of the same name. The name merengue has little to do with the music, instead it is derived from the steps in the dance where the legs of the dancers look like eggbeaters, in much the same way the eggs and sugar are beaten to make the sugar confection named merengue. Both the dance and music are rousing and vivacious, very different in character from the Haitian mereng or meringue, which is danced and sung slower.

The traditional band playing merengue music is a trio composed of an accordion, a two-sided drum called a tambora and a percussion instrument called a güira. The güira is a scraper made of a sheet of metal shaped into a tube, with one area pricked outward with nails. This perforation makes the unique sound associated with the merengue when a stiff brush is run against it. The güira is played in syncopation with the other two rhythms from the tambora, which is played with the hand on one drum and the stick on another.

The resulting rhythms play a pattern called the quintilla, which is synonymous with merengue music. Many purists claim that if it is not played to a quintilla, then it is not the merengue. Other instruments could be added to the merengue band, but the three main instruments are standard.

Merengue music was originally played by Dominican bandurrias, the tres and the quatro, along with the güira and the tambora. However, when German traders came to the Dominican Republic, they introduced the accordion to the locals in exchange for tobacco and the new novel-sounding instrument replaced the roles of the string instruments in merengue music. It is often said that the three main instruments of the merengue band are symbolic of the Dominican Republic’s diverse cultural landscape: the foreign accordion, the Caribbean güira and the African tambora, all working together to produce the country’s national music.

The most common form of merengue music is the Perico Ripiao, also called the Merengue Tipico or typical merengue. Perico ripiao actually translates to “the ripped parrot,” which was actually the name of a famous brothel. Perico Ripiao is the most common form of merengue and is the merengue music that you hear today. Other forms of merengue music are the Merengue Orquestra and the Merengue Gitarra.

One of the first, important composers of merengue music is Francisco “Ñico” Lora, who was responsible for the accordion’s swift popularity. Merengue music’s popularity rose even further when the dictator Rafael Trujillo held control over the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961, by commissioning several merengues to be written to glorify him. It was during Trujillo’s time that a merengue song became a hit all over the world. Entitled “Compadre Pedro Juan,” it was written, performed and popularized by Luis Alberti.

Other merengue musicians of note include the Queen of Merengue Milly Quezada, Juan Luis Guerra, Los Hermanos Rosario and Elvis Crespo.

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The merengue is considered the national dance of the Dominican Republic and first gained popularity in 1850, when it replaced another folk dance, the Tumba. With a heightened sense of nationalist pride, native Dominicans boast that the merengue is 100% a hispanic dance from their country, but there are evidences in merengue history that some foreign steps and rhythms may have inspired it, including a telling fact that in Haiti, which shares an island with the Dominican Republic, they have their own local folk dance called the mereng or, in some areas, the meringue.

Discussions of merengue history always mentions the Haitian mereng. There are differences between the Dominican merengue and the Haitian mereng, despite the fact that their names and the main step of each dance – stepping out to the side with one foot and dragging the other foot to close – are very similar. The music and execution of the Haitian mereng is much slower than the merengue of the Dominican Republic. Also, the mereng of Haiti is said to be inspired by the French contredanse and minuet, merged with African slave rhythms. As we’ve mentioned, merengue is touted to be a homegrown dance, although it also shares characteristic with the Cuban danza.

The history of merengue can be traced according to the history of the Dominican Republic, but since there is an argument that it has no foreign influences, many scholars debate on the authenticity of these origin stories. For example, some scholars are convinced that since Dominican Republic and Haiti were at war with each other during the time the merengue was developed, then it was impossible that each could influence the other’s dances. However, there was a short period wherein Haiti ruled the entire island, and the roots of the dance, through sharing the dances could have sprung from there.

Another connection to history is that when the African slaves finally staged a bloody uprising against the French colonizers, many fled to Cuba to get away from danger. Eventually, they would return to the Dominican Republic, with much exposure to Cuban culture. There are debates whether the merengue was actually derived from the Cuban danzas as a result of this, or if the merengue was the one to influence the danza. Valid points are made by several conflicting parties on this matter.

The fondest stories told about the origin of the merengue are slave tales where the Africans would drag their feet along as they were chained together, and later this intimate community was immortalized as a dance. Another story is how a soldier was wounded during the revolution, and how his friends and family, who knew how much he loved to dance, decided to dance with a limp to sympathize with him on the dance floor. The dance was named after a sugar confection with pointy peaks because the nature of the dance resembled the abrupt peaks of the candy.

Because of merengue history’s concordance with the country’s own history, it can be said that merengue can be a bearer of Dominican identity. Which explains the Dominican pride in discussing the origins of such a lively dance.

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Chino & Nacho – Niña Bonita (Official Video) (Version Merengue) Prod. By Richy Peña “Los Supremos”

© El Orfanato Music Group/Pina Records

Duration : 0:3:38

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Angel Viloria y su Conjunto Típico Cibaeño was a merengue band performing in the US Latin community in the 1950s. It was the first band to enjoy major success in popularizing merengue music outside the Dominican Republic. The band featured Angel Viloria on the accordion (the accordion player was the traditional leader), Ramón E. García on tenor saxophone, Luis Quintero on tambora and Dioris Valladares on vocals. Between 1950 and 1952, it notched up a number of hits under the New York based Ansonia Records banner of Rafael Pérez.

In its name, the band claimed to be authentic (tipico) El Cibao music – this is the region in north Dominican Republic, where merengue had its origins. The tipico merengue features a slightly faster tempo, and keeps the accordion sound, as opposed to the jazz-influenced music of Luis Alberti who had adapted merengue to a more urban ethos in the 1940s. The style of Angel Viloria’s band however reflected more of the urban Alberti influence than the name admits; the accordion was of course, quite tipico.[1]

By 1953, the band had split up, with Viloria, Quintero, and Valladares forming separate groups

Duration : 0:3:3

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Team Match 2009 at University of Twente, organized by 4HappyFeet club – Merengue dance

Duration : 0:1:17

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Zumba en Reynosa y Monterrey, ZES Clarita Mata e Instructoras Oficiales de Zumba: Anel, Iris, Yasmeli y Blanca

Duration : 0:9:11

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this is not my video but i really want the second song that is playing so if you can hear or read lips really good please let me know the lyrics the girl with the black shirt is singing… the song starts at :20sec. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSOBVoO7e_g

The audio is horrible so I can’t even make out what they are saying, but the second song is definitely merengue if that is any help. maybe some hardcore merenguero can recognize it despite the poor audio quality. Sorry I can’t be of more help

I want new popular ones or just popular

There is a new generation of Merengue music now days, called Mambo Urbano.. I like it, but a lot of other people like the original kind. Search for "Carrito rojo de Carrera" that is pretty new and different. You know if you want to keep up with whats new in merengue there is this website: http://www.lomaximoproductions.com/home.php

you can download a lot of mix tapes there, it is all free, legal and mainly for promotions of artists.

i am latina! i live in south america (Venezuela) and here we dance salsa, merengue, and reggaeton at parties! i am moving to U.S.A soon and i was wondering if people over their dance it too! :D

it would be fun to know if europeans and canadians also dance it :D!

oh! and also i would like to know what u guys think about latino dances like the onces i mentioned before! :D
^^
xoxo, Luci <3

It depends where in the U.S. you plan on moving to. If you plan to move to an area with a large influx of Spanish-speaking people, you will definitely find salsa, merengue and reggaeton. I live in California and you will definitely find reggaeton and merengue, but less of salsa. In the Southwestern states, you will find a lot of Mexican music, though. Not to say there isn’t salsa in California, but it’s not in abundance. Where you will find a lot of salsa is Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando and Boston (where there is a lot of Puerto Ricans). I don’t know about Eurpeans and Canadians, but I’m assuming there’s pockets of areas were you will find it.

Que bien que te vas a mover de Venezuela. Me imagino que es un pais bonito, pero Chavez quiere cambiarlo a un pais socialista. Ojala que la gente vota "no" al referendo!!

Pues me encanta bailar los tres. No soy muy bueno pa’ bailarlo, pero estoy disponible para bailar. A donde vas a mover?