|05-10-2006, 09:27 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Between the Trees
Salsa vs Merengue
Salsa vs. Merengue
by Alfie Orta, a Social Dancer from NYC who moved to Toronto!
posted November 30, 2001
I knew the song would be finishing soon, so I started to make way across the dance floor. I was looking for a dance partner. They had just played eight Merengue songs in a row. The Salseras, I assumed, were itching to get into some real dancing. Right across from me there was a woman, who looked liked she could dance. So I inched my way toward her. When the song finished I saw her disgust. Salsa music started to play. She wanted some more Merengue! With a look of disgust, only found in Latina's, she went back to her seat. Could you believe that? The dance floor cleared just like roaches do when you walk into a Bronx, NY kitchen. It seemed as if everyone wanted to dance Merengue.
This was foreign to me. I just assumed that in all Latin clubs, Salsa was the music of choice. But I was in a club that loved to play it's Merengue. To compare Salsa versus Merengue, in my mind there was not a comparison. Salsa was and will always be king. Merengue was loved by people who could not dance Salsa. Everyone knew that, (I thought to my ignorant self). After only two Salsa songs, I heard Oro Solido jam the speakers. It was as if they lowered the volume for Salsa and pumped it for Merengue. I was done with this place. As I was leaving, I bumped into Jose, a friend of mine. He knew that I was frustrated. I explained to him that I wanted to dance Salsa and no one here knew how to dance. He laughed at me. He told me that I was being a typical ignorant New York Puerto Rican. "Wait until the next Salsa song comes on, and I will show you how BAD these dancers are" said Jose.
Four Corona's and two trips to the bathroom later, they played a Salsa song. Jose was telling some people he knew to stay on the floor and dance Salsa. Tony Vega was now jamming on the system. To my amazement these couples were flying. They were awesome. They danced Puerto Rican style. My jaw was hanging as if there was a bowling bowl attached. There wasn't any of that fake side to side dancing either. To top it off they were dancing on the two. Jose came over to me and said " We like Salsa, but most of us are Dominican and we LOVE Merengue". I apologized profusely for my negative comments. "Now it is your turn," he said as he pushed me on the dance floor to dance Merengue. I said, " Anybody could dance to Merengue". I grabbed a girl and we started dancing. Back and forth we went. Side to side we went, as I was bored out of my skull. My partner was staring at her fingernails, (and they were groomed very nicely I must admit, with red nail polish shining against her dark skin. But that is a story for another day). She was not having fun dancing with me as well. Jose took her from me and they were off and running. She had this big Kool-Aid smile on her face, which she did not have with me. They made this, so called boring music, fun to dance and fun to watch. All these years I always thought I could dance Merengue, but I was clueless. For the rest of the night I was a Merenguero.
So which music is really better, Salsa versus Merengue? I guess it depends on your mood. If you want to dance to a music that is romantic and elegant. I would say choose Salsa. But if you feel like getting hot, sweaty and having an unlimited amount of fun, you cannot beat the heat of Merengue.
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