Originated in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the Merengue is claimed to have an own style by both countries. According to the Haitian traditions, a ruler of Haiti, had a lame son who enjoys dancing. In order that this beloved son would not feel sad about this affliction, the people of their country took to dancing as they all were lame. The Dominican’s version is a very brave and famous military officer, who was wounded in battle and developed a limp. A celebration dance was then given for the great hero returning from the war. Not wishing to embarrass their hero who limped on his wounded leg while dancing, all the men present, favored their leg as well, and thus he Merengue was born.
For generations in both countries, the dance was taught and danced with these back stories in mind. When couples would dance the Merengue, the man favored his left leg and the lady favored her right leg. They would flex their knees a bit more than usual and at the same time lean the body slightly to the same side.
Haitians and Dominicans consider the Merengue dance as their “singing dance”. It is quite understandable when you consider the exhilarating brightness of the staccato rhythm. The Merengue is danced in place to latin music.