Free Merengue Dance Class at Hattiloo 

Antonio Quinn promises that the free merengue lesson he's giving at the Hattiloo Theatre will be easy and basic. "We won't be getting too much of the sordid history behind it," he says. The class was planned as a way to introduce Memphians to Dominican culture prior to the opening of In the Heights, a critically acclaimed play about Dominican people who move into the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. But Quinn, who founded Bohemian Africana, an interdisciplinary educational center, knows the merengue's long, sometimes troubled history. It was born in the 19th century, used as a tool of propaganda, and is now generally regarded as the national dance and music of the Dominican Republic.

"Like calypso and reggae, and everything that comes out of the rubble in the Caribbean, merengue has this dark history behind it," Quinn says. "Similar to the blues or Negro spirituals, it comes out of this really tumultuous, painful history. But it's a beautiful thing."

click to enlarge Lessons in Dominican culture
  • Lessons in Dominican culture

In the Heights, which opens at Hattiloo August 13th, won the 2008 Tony Award for best musical. It's a song-and-dance-laden collage of street life in a heavily Dominican Upper Manhattan neighborhood. It's part melodrama, part street party, and Quinn's dance class is just a warmup.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Hungry Memphis

Michael Donahue's Best Bets: Irish Car Bomb

Tiger Blue

Penny Speaks, We Listen

News Blog

RDC Rebooted as 'Memphis River Parks Partnership'

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Jones Rolling With Short Films

News Blog

Southern Hot Wings Festival 2018

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Don Lifted

Politics Beat Blog

Weekend Review: Confederate Statues Loom Over GOP Debates

Music Blog

Keith Sykes Leads Ardent Into a New Era

We Saw You

Drew Erwin opens downtown studio. Plus party news.

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

"1,300 Men: Memphis Strike '68" To Screen At Main Library

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Davis

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation