Merengue A Vivid Kaleidoscope – Сustom Literature essay

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Merengue - A Vivid KaleidoscopeLatin Dance has evolved into a vivid kaleidoscope of many different cultures dancing to the beat of a single drum. These types of music which find their origin in African influence have developed into a meshwork of individual sounds and have grown to be identified with a particular culture. An example of such can be seen in the evolution and history of one of these, Merengue. This type of dance is native to the Carribean, however, it has developed and taken its precedence in the Dominican Republic. This Carribean nation has been crucial to the spread of this music on an international level.

Even though the Dominican Republic has been considered the original country of origin for Merengue history shows otherwise. In Puerto Rico, visiting Cuban marching bands introduced this new way of music in 1842 known as Upa. This new type of music had African influence and introduced a completely new way of dancing. It was considered forbidden and was completely eliminated from the island. Colombia and Venezuela also had similar sounds and music that were danced around the coastal cities thus showing this music has various external derivatives

This new type of dancing which appeared to have a fusion between African and European roots and a result of colonization, and its custom of moving and swaying ones hips and the placement of hands in its distinctive manner. The Domincan Republic has without a doubt been considered the home of the Merengue. In an effort to promote nationalism specific to the culture, the Domincan people attempted to promote this new way of dance and this new sound. In the 19th Century, Merengue was being introduced in saloons and ballrooms everywhere on the island. However, this new music found its opposition among Europeans at the time. The custom style of dancing at this time was the Tumba, a cultural dance of the time which was danced in groups.

The Merengue was embraced and accepted by the Dominican people and evolved within the country according to region. An example of this is the region of the Dominican Republic known as "El Cibao" has taken its influence from merengue and specified it to a particular sound and style influenced by that region a style which has been come to be known as "Perico Ripiao". This dance eventually came to be revered by many as a sound relative to the Dominican Republic, it showed nationalism and was used to unify Dominicans. This type of dance has not only developed and evolved differently according to country, but also to the different regions and individuals. Its spread to other countries has coincided with the emigration of Dominicans to other parts of the world, specifically New York and Puerto Rico.

This way of dance serves as something that immigrants can take with them and can enable them to identify themselves with their points of origin. Its simple rhythmic style of dancing makes it a specific target for individuals trying to learn something new and exciting. In the 70's this style of dance even replaced salsa since salsa has a more choreographed and ballroom style of dance, there was something in the rhythm and freestyle of the merengue that has allowed it to become so popular all over the world. This dance is evident in our society today and has allowed other cultures to partake in dancing this music and becoming influenced by this way of dance. People of European origin are seen dancing and repeating words to such merengue songs like, "El Baile del Perrito".

(The dog dance) Learning this style of dance has been of great help to me, it has opened my eyes to the appreciation of this sound and in turn learning and adopting a new culture. It has been of great experience to me in that it has allowed me to partake and embrace Carribean culture as a whole. This type of dancing is very contagious and very simple in its way of dance. The steps required for this dance are moving your feet and swaying your hips to the sound or the given beat of the music. Occasionally, there are certain turns which are incorporated in the dance giving it liveliness and allowing the disappearance of otherwise repetitive dance. Different people have developed different ways of dancing this music and it is evident that the Dominican Republic has a pivotal role in its spread. This music has unified a complete genre of individuals and has allowed many like myself to appreciate its cultural importance and development as a whole.

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