Dance Class with Marisol
This week, each day we have had an hour and a half dance class in the afternoons. we are learning merengue and bachata — two styles that are a huge part of the Dominican culture. Monday and Tuesday, we learned the basics and a couple short phrases. Yesterday and today, we danced with boys (who attend Marisol’s studio) so that we could practice in pairs. It was really great to dance in pairs and practice turns and steps. Marisol is a real dance teacher who knows what she’s doing, and her upstairs studio is gorgeous. She teaches us about Merengue and Bachata as we go along— teaching us the three parts of merengue: El Paseo (the walk to meet your partner), la parte del cantante (where the singer is singing), and el jaleo (the part when the music speeds up). We learned about traditional merengue versus modern merengue, but we’ve been dancing to all traditional merengues. Bachata and merengue both come from the hips and focus on strong “pasos” (steps). The upper body does not move that much, and you have to stand with very good posture. When dancing with a partner, you can’t let your elbows drop and make sure your shoulders aren’t tense. Overall, these dance classes have been very fun and we’ve learned a lot while having a lot of fun dancing. It has been awesome to have learned about the history of Merengue and Bachata in our Advanced Spanish class and then be able to dance these styles every day in the country they originated in. We are sad today is our last day of dancing with Marisol.