Merengue and Salsa Dance Class

Programs for this blog post

Leadership & Service in Public Health

Authored By:

Megan Hoeffler

We got to take a dance class on the traditional Dominican dance called Merengue as well as the Salsa. The class was led by local dance teacher Ambar Suriel. The Merengue is the music and dance of the Dominican Republic. The instruments used to make the music is an accordion and a two-sided drum. The Merengue is a partner dance, and the woman follows the man’s lead. It is a very high energy and high movement dance. This dance was created in the 1800s.

One of our students, Erika Ortega from Corona, California, wrote about her thoughts on the dance class. “The dance class that we had was a great experience. In the U.S. I am used to watching hip hop/K-pop dance videos and thinking about how cool they are as the dancers moved. I really wanted to look as cool as them, but when we came to the Dominican Republic and learned to dance, my perspective on dancing changed. It wasn’t about trying to look cool or smooth. As we were taught each step of the merengue and salsa, our instructor told us to feel the music and let it reach our soul. That’s when I knew that I didn’t have to be scared if I looked stupid while trying to dance. As long as I was trying my best and really felt the energies of the music within my soul and spirit, that was dancing. The Dominican way of dancing truly inspires me to not be afraid and to just have fun in the moment I’m sharing with friends and family.”

Our trip has been filled with music and dancing, which is a large part of the culture here in the DR. We were excited to show off our new dance moves when we were on a tour of a Casabi Buren, which is a place that produces cassava, and they started playing Meringue music. All of our students got to dance and show off what we learned from our class and the locals loved it!