Notes (Part I): a Step, a Tap and the Difference
In this exercise, notice how similar the step patterns are to those in salsa. Salsa is a symmetrical dance i.e. a different leg is used at the beginning of every bar. A merengue basic is asymmetrical i.e. the same leg is used at the beginning of every bar, unless you use a tap to change phase.
Once you've mastered
the phase change, you can dance the merengue asymmetrically or symmetrically
as you see fit. It demonstrates the power of the merengue, especially
when you take the time to master each skill flexibly (see Extras).
So if you want to salsa, simply change phase at the end of every bar
If I feel that I'm not in sync with my partner I do a tap-step. If I'm not sure I tap-step anyway to find out if it feels any better: if it's better I can feel smug about it, and if it's worse I just tap-step back again.
Shirin and Nathan are performing the common figure called the cuddlehold (which will be described in a later section). Notice that it involves changes in orientation within the partnership: facing each other, facing the same way, then back to facing each other again. Nathan is required to change phase twice, although the second one is not shown.
A close-up of the phase change is below:
You can see how being in phase avoids the partners' hips from bouncing off each other in the side-by-side position, allowing a closer hold.
©1999 Salsa & Merengue Society