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History of rumba merengue and salsa essay

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Merengue Dance History

With his permission and for your convenience, most of it, is copied below. Dancing is an expression of body movement to music. In order to know and appreciate "why" the 2 beat is danced in Latin American music you should know the "what" behind it in it's background and history.

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  • With his permission and for your convenience, most of it, is copied below;
  • With his permission and for your convenience, most of it, is copied below.

No one has arbitrarily assigned the "2" beat to be danced on. That's simply the result of observing the dancing by authentic Latin American dancers to authentic Latin American music. The Rumba music was the first music to emanate from Cuba and it migrated to Miami Beach and then travelled all the way to New York City and the first dance that was taught to that music was a box step called by American Teachers, "Rumba", or sometimes "Rhumba". The music had an appeal.

Just take a Foxtrot box step and "throw a little hip movement into it.

History Of Rumba, Merengue And Salsa

It the music was not only new but different from what American Bands were playing. The music was played by Latin Americans using Bongo and Conga drums, Clave, Gourds, a cow bell, and the construction of the music was built around the Clave Rhythm over a two bar simple phrase.

The rhythm instruments dominated the music. When it was played in Cuba it was danced by Cubans and the dance was called "Cuban Rumba" only to differentiate it from "American Rumba". The basic dance pattern of Cuban origin resembled a diamond.

Today this dance, the Cuban Rumba, is perpetuated by the international style. The English dropped the "Cuban" from the name but have consistently preserved the form wherein the basic step is in the shape of a "diamond" and danced on the 2 beat. Cuban Rumba does not use a "box step" for it's basic. American Rumba using a box step is purely a teacher-contrived pattern so it could be conveniently and easily taught to "inept New York City Society Types".

When we were taught to start the "Cuban Rumba" We called it the Mambo!

It was the Leader's option whether to start fwd left or back right but it started with the "sway movement", which today is called a preparation step. But it would always be on the 2 beat. The purists preferred "preparation side left, back right so you could insert the basic in the two bar phrase beginning with the claves beat.

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  • American Rumba using a box step is purely a teacher-contrived pattern so it could be conveniently and easily taught to "inept New York City Society Types";
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  • The original Merengue was not danced by individual couples, but was a circle dance, each man and woman faced each other and holding hands - at arm's length;
  • No one has arbitrarily assigned the "2" beat to be danced on;
  • Then, thousands of years later, people returned back to the land.

It was called "Single Mambo". All of this dancing was structured on a "Diamond" pattern, turning slightly counter clockwise. When the Diamond turned more aggressively the Cross Body lead was born and most of the "break patterns " were preceded by this cross body lead.

When the Mambo or Cuban Rumba was danced in the Palladium it started out as a very compact dance. The so-called, "front and back charges" were no more than a few inches in step length; but It was the rhythm that was more important than the shape of the pattern.

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If you took up too much space more than you were entitled to in the Palladium you frequently encountered very angry couples who resented your overlapping their dance territory. Fierce looks often preceded a physical encounter for infringement on someone elses dance turf. Altercations were not infrequent.