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How to Dance Merengue for dance exercise

lesmills view time 2018-01-12 10:31


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See the demo video   Here are some of the common steps I do during merengue routines:
Basic March Step:  March in place, but instead of thinking about lifting up your knee, as you would during a regular non-dancing march, concentrate on what your opposite foot is doing- the one that is down.  Really press that foot into the floor- so much that the hip on that sides pops up. Your opposite knee still comes up, but it's not your primary focus.  As your opposite knee comes up, the heel of the same foot always comes off the floor.  The ball of the foot keeps contact with the floor.  Just the heel rises.  The more you can make it rise, the better.  It gives you the look of high arches, which is the goal.  Imagine you're dancing with high heels.
Adding a Twist to the Basic Step:  Combine a hip twist with the basic march in place.  In a hip twist, your hips rotate around your spine.  As you put weight on your left foot, your right hip comes forward and twists to the left.  Squeeze your inner thighs together here.  As you put weight on our right foot, your left hip comes forward and twists to the right.  Squeeze.  Repeat.
Basic Side Step:  Move your right foot to the right on 1.  Move your left next to your right foot on 2. Repeat. 
Use your hips to do these steps:  The reason your right foot moves to the right is because your left hip bumps up, causing your rib cage and body weight to shift to the right and push the right foot out of the way.  Then when your left foot meets your right foot on 2, your body position returns to neutral. 
Basic Side Step with figure 8:  A figure 8 movement can also be used on the basic side step.  The left side of the figure 8 happens when you step to the right.  The right side happens when you bring your feet together.  Repeat the same on the other side.
Basic Side Step with hip circle:  Make counterclockwise hip circles as your travel to the right.  When your right foot move right, your hips travel left.  As your left foot closes in next to your right foot, do the backwards part of the hip circle.  Do the front part of the hip circle (hips moving left) as you step right again.
Do the opposite when you travel to the left.
Turning Basic Side Step with hip circle:  As you are stepping to the right you can turn around in circles to your left or counterclockwise.  Step, turn and do hip circles simultaneously.  When side stepping to the left, turn right or clockwise.
Turning Basic Side Step with hip circle and shimmy:  Now add a hip shimmy.  It is easier if you only shimmy on 2, as you're bringing your feet together.  It's easier to shimmy the hip of the foot that is up in the air.
3 Step or "side together side together":    Think:  Right, replace, together, Left, replace, together.  123,456  1 is a basic side step to the right, 2 is a basic side step to the left, on 3 the right foot moves left until it meets the left foot.  4 is a basic side step to the left.  5 is a basic side step to the right.  On 6, the left foot moves right till it meets the right foot.  Repeat.
Crossing 3 Step:  Do the same as the 3 Step, but cross your feet on 3 and 6.  Right, replace, cross in front.  Left, replace, cross in front.  Instead of bringing your feet together, one crosses in front of the other.  You can also do a crossing 3 step by crossing behind.  Right, replace, cross in back.  Left, replace, cross in back.  This step can be done to a few different rhythms:  1) Quick Quick Slow, Quick Quick slow:  The cross happens on slow.  2) 6 Quicks:  This will be very fast.  For either rhythm, you can use a basic side step or a basic step with a twist.  If you twist:
on 1) hip twist to left as your right foot steps to right
on 2) hip twist to left as your step back on your left foot
on 3) hip twist to left as your right foot crosses in front
Repeat the opposite on the other side.
Bouncy Side together Side together with figure 8:  1) Basic side step to the right with figure 8 pushoff.  2) Basic side step to the left with figure 8 pushoff.  3) Right foot closes in to left foot.  body becomes neutral.  Same on other side.  This will be fast.  To make it bouncy, push off you right foot at the end of 1 and push off your left foot and the end of 4.
Pony:  Start with the basic marching step. Add a vertical hip circle.  You reach the bottom of the circle on 1 and the top of the circle on 2.   Bend your knees to get lower on 1 and raise your heels to get higher on 2.  Absorb the rise and fall into your abs so that your upper body is not out of control and remains fairly steady.
Mambo Chasse:  I rarely see students have trouble with this one!  You can step on the mambo or do pelvis thrusts or hip bumps or many other creative moves.  Think of the chasse as a cha cha step.  The count goes
1, 2 = mambo (right foot forward, left foot in place)
3+4= chasse (side step, together, side step)(to the right)
1,2 = mambo on other side (left foot forward, right foot in place)
3+4= chasses (to the left)
On the chasse, you can either skip and not use your hips, and travel a lot OR you can quickly bump your  hips on each of the 3 steps and travel less.  Try both for variation.

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