This is a very popular Latin social dance and is also the national dance of the Dominican Republic, where it developed in the 1800's. This dance arrived in the United States in the 1940's and quickly became part of the Latin dance scene. Merengue is easy to learn, great fun to dance and ideal for couples or anyone traveling to any of the Latin American countries. You can see a demonstration of the Merengue dance in the Merengue video on this page.
This dance does not progress around the dance floor but is danced on one part of the floor. The hips of the leader and follower move in the same direction throughout the dance. The dancers can dance from side to side, backward and forward, or circle each other, using small steps that have a marching feel to them. The dancers can switch from a closed dance position (the man holds the lady in his arms), to an open position and do separate turns without letting go of each other's hands or can momentarily release one hand. The turns can twist and tie the partners into intricate hand holds. The upper body is kept majestic and the turns are danced slowly.
Merengue music is written in 4/4 time and is counted 1234, 5678. The tempo of the music for this dance can be very fast. Again, you can see a demonstration of the Merengue dance in the Merengue video on this page.