The Merengue is a popular Latin dance and the national dance of the Dominican Republic as well as of Haiti.
There are two popular versions of the origin of the Merengue. The first story alleges the dance originated with slaves who were chained together and, of necessity, were forced to drag one leg as they cut sugar to the beat of drums. The second says that a great war hero was wounded in the leg during one of the many revolutions in the Dominican Republic. He was welcomed home with a victory celebration and, out of sympathy, everyone dancing felt obligated to limp and drag one foot.
The Merengue is a spot dance, meaning it doesn't move around the dance floor so it is ideally suited to small, crowded dance floors. Merengue is a fun dance with simple steps, making it easy to learn quickly. The "1-2" march-like rhythm makes it a favorite throughout the Caribbean, Latin America and South America. It is the perfect dance to learn for those planning a trip in any of these regions of the world.
The Merengue was introduced to the United States in New York and, like the other Latin dances, spread across the States and maintained its popularity socially in clubs.