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Yes, it’s true: “If you can walk, you can dance the Merengue”

Learn to Dance Merengue

Learning to dance can be daunting for a variety of reasons, but the old adage, “If you can walk, you can dance the Merengue,” really holds true and opens up the wonderful world of Latin dance to even the most uncoordinated of dancers. Not only is it easy to master, but this fun and exciting style can quickly make you look like a pro on the dance floor.

A little bit of history

Often considered the national dance of the Dominican Republic, the origins of the Merengue are not as clear cut. One story suggests that the style was created when a returning war veteran, General Maringie, danced awkwardly after his leg had been injured in battle during one of the country’s many revolutions. The villagers who threw a celebratory welcome home party, felt obliged to mimic his limp in sympathetic support for their hero.

The alternate history of the dance is that it grew out of the African slave communities of the Caribbean and that the distinctive footwork resembles the steps of people who were chained together and therefore forced to drag one leg as they cut sugar to the beat of drums. In fact, the original Merengue was not a couple’s dance, but was performed in a circle with everyone facing each other and holding hands at arm’s length.

Merengue madness

Originating among the lower classes, the Merengue rocketed in popularity throughout society when it was adopted as a national dance. As the United States took over administration of custom’s house in 1905, the country reinforced its cultural identity through the exhilarating music and movement of the Merengue. It then swiftly spread through America like wildfire and remains just as popular today.

Merengue moves

Whatever the truth of its roots, the good news is the Merengue is one of the easiest Latin dances to master, making it an ideal introduction for beginners. It’s a ‘spot dance’, which means you don’t travel all around the dance floor.

There are few turns, making it the perfect choice for crowded nightclubs. The basic Merengue step is a small side-to-side shuffle by both partners in a closed hold. Gentle turns and side walking are common features, and the only thing you must be aware of is to not invade your partner’s space. As you master the basics – remember: if you can walk, you can Merengue –you can start adding the distinctive footwork, Latin hip action and fluid upper body movements to stylise this majestic dance.

Merengue music

Compared with other Latin compositions, Merengue music is written in 4/4 time and is less frenetic, although it is still vibrant and upbeat. As well as being slower and therefore less daunting, it has good appeal to beginners for its clear beat and constant rhythm.

Try a free dance lesson

Are you tempted to discover how easy this dance step really is? Contact Arthur Murray today for a free trial Merengue lesson.


Both my wife and I are extremely happy learning ballroom dancing at Crows Nest Arthur Murray Studio. We have found the dancing instructors to be professional, knowledgeable, friendly and supportive. We are more than happy to continue enjoying our dancing experience and social activities with all the other students. We feel like part of a large joyous dancing family.John & Marilynread more
John Chung
John Chung
11:16 14 Feb 17
We were interested in learning Tango for our daughter's wedding last year, but here we are in our second year at AM, Crows Nest - dancing has now become our passion, due in large part, to the excellence of teaching and supportive atmosphere of this studio! The journey is long and I so envy the folks who have started years ago to achieve the beauty and grace of ballroom and the seduction of Latin dancing. We are determined to continue !!!read more
Ayshe Talay-Ongan
Ayshe Talay-Ongan
23:35 06 Feb 17
We started dancing in 2009 for our wedding - and had so much fun learning that we kept it up. They have incredible flexibility to do as much as you want, on your schedule, and consist of staff that appreciate busy working (and family!) lives --- while encouraging you to always improve yourselves! As a couple learning they have accommodated both our learning styles very well.read more
Heidi Kuglin Justin Beck
Heidi Kuglin Justin Beck
08:48 04 Feb 17
I walked through the doors at Arthur Murray Crows Nest over 10 years ago having never danced a day in my life… I was looking for something fun to do outside of work and I’ve been there ever since!! There are local and overseas competitions, social nights and lots of glamorous events throughout the year to keep you busy. It’s fun, challenging, incredibly rewarding and you have an absolute blast along the way!!read more
Amy Hendry
Amy Hendry
02:29 31 Jan 17
I have loved dance all of my life but the Arthur Murray Crows Nest experience has taken my love and learning to another level. I have been dancing here for 14 years and will continue until my body gives up. My lessons are so much fun, challenging in a good way and a great form of exercise. Add to that the social side, great people, parties, outings, local and overseas competitions and you have the ultimate hobby.read more
Janet Black
Janet Black
02:19 27 Jan 17