Dancing lo tipico: A choreomusical perspective on merengue

Sydney Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a dance, Dominican merengue is typically described as "simple"-so simple, in fact, that it has not yet received scholarly attention as dance. By providing a choreomusical perspective on merengue, this article shows that quite the opposite is true. In the specialised world of traditional merengue tipico, dancers serve as regulators of tradition. Dancers are judged by their corporeal understanding of musical structures and rhythms. In turn, skilled dancers are valued by musicians and exert a moderating influence on musical transformations. An emic vocabulary describes characteristics of both music and movement that underscore their reciprocal influence throughout merengue's history. This case study contests notions of simplicity and sexiness often tied to Caribbean dance; it also speaks to broad patterns found throughout Latin America while demonstrating the utility of the holistic perspective offered by chor-eomusicology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-107
Number of pages19
JournalWorld of Music
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


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