In the Merengue, partners hold each other in a closed position. Partners bend their knees slightly left and right, thus making the hips move left and right. Although the tempo of the music may be frenetic, the upper body is kept majestic and turns are slow, typically four beats/steps per complete turn.
Both Haiti and the Dominican Republic claim Merengue as their own. According to Haitian lore, an earlier ruler of their country had a lame son who liked to dance. In order that this beloved prince would not feel self-conscious about his affliction, the entire populace took to dancing as though they all were lame. When the brave warrior rose to dance, he limped on his wounded left leg. Rather than make him feel self-conscious, all the men present favored their left legs as they danced.
Learning the Merengue can be as easy as listening to the music and letting yourself get carried away with it so that your body moves with the flow of the sound. By combining entertainment and fun, you get what you body needs. The gyration of the hips is fun and uplifting and improves flexibility.