Merengue is essentially an easy and fun dance to learn and the music is happy and upbeat. That is why the Merengue is a popular social and club dance. The dance is characterized by a stiff-legged, limping step. There are many versions of the origins of the dance. One popular version is that the dance originated from slaves who were chained together and had to drag one leg as they cut sugar to the beat of drums. Another popular version is that a great hero was wounded in the leg during one of many revolutions in the Dominican Republic, and all the villagers dancing at his welcome home celebration felt obliged to limp and drag one foot. Merengue is the national dance and music of the Dominican Republic.