How do mexicans dance

10 Popular Traditional Mexican Dance Styles, Their Names & Everything Else

Dance forms are very vital parts of a country’s culture and are expressive of what matters to the place. Regional folk dances reflect the way of life of a region or country. A traditional Mexican dance combines elements from its European, African, and the indigenous heritage of Mexico. Initially, they belonged to two categories- one for the elite and one for the common people. The dance of the commons was generally about the agricultural cycle. These dances evolved in the period from 1520 to 1750. The earliest of these evolved dances were enactments of battle conquests.

With a rich history and influential heritage, the Mexican dancers couldn’t convey everything through one or two dance forms. This is the reason why the vibrant and colorful dances in Mexico evolved into various styles, originating in different states.

What is Mexico’s Dance and Music?

Mexico’s music culture is defined by Mariachi music or the traditional Mexican Folk Music. This form of music is different from other types in terms of attire, use of instruments, and songs. Trumpets and violins dominate Mariachi music. The sense of humor of the region is evident in the lyrics of the Mariachi songs.  

Traditional Mexican dances that represent the different regions of the country are the Folklorico dances. Did you know that the Spanish people had tried to curb all the dance forms and do away with this form of expression completely? Today, the government of Mexico is investing heavily in this art form. The Institute of Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is promoting young talent and encouraging them to take up dancing.

Popular Mexican Dances

As the different dance forms originate from different regions of Mexico, they have their characteristic features. Each dance has its attire and accompanying instruments. Below are some of the popular dances in Mexico:

Jarabe Tapatío

Jarabe Tapatío is the most internationally renowned of all the traditional Mexican dances. It is the most patriotic, being the National dance of the country. It was named the National dance in 1924, to give a collective national identity to several different cultures. It is a matter of national pride for the natives.

The dance forms, Spanish ‘Jarabe Gitano’ and ‘Zambra’ that were popular during viceroyalty are the inspiration behind Jarabe Tapatío. It was first performed in Guadalajara, Jalisco, as a courtship dance, in the nineteenth century.

Jarabe Tapatío is also known as Mexican Hat Dance and the attire for this traditional dance is intriguing and unique. The men wear a charro suit, whereas the females wear a china poblana dress.

La Conquista

La Conquista is an essential traditional dance form in Mexican history. Inspired by The Baile De Los Moros, it is popularly known as The Baile De La Conquista. It tells the tragic story of the Spanish conquest where a few masked dancers portray the historical figures of Hernán Cortés, La Malinche, and Moctezuma.

The dance form is highly popular in the states of Jalisco and Michoacán. It originated in Guatemala, although its variations are performed throughout Latin America, but with the difference of local folklore.

Danza de los Viejitos

Danza de los Viejitos, prevalent mostly in the Mexican state of Michoacán, is the dance of the older men. Initially created as a mockery for the Spanish upper class, the concept came into practice in the 20th century, with rhythms for traditional folk dance.

These dances feature the use of traditional and indigenous clothes and instruments. While the men dance with masks and machetes, the women carry a fan. One of the most striking features of Danza de los Viejitos is the use of wooden shoes worn by both male and female dancers. This adds impact to each step a dancer takes. Danza de los Viejitos has some similarities with another dance form called Hiehuenches.

Danza del Venado

Danza del Venado is a unique Mexican dance form, depicting the story of a deer hunt. You can easily identify this dance form even if you watch it for the first time. The dancers wear hunter masks and deer antlers, either real or imitation, on their heads.

People perform this traditional ‘Danza’ during the spring. It hails from the Yaqui regions of Sinaloa and Sonora. Danza del Venado is now extremely popular across the US, with numerous shows happening all over the country.

Los Voladores de Papantla

Los Voladores de Papantla has been designated an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ tag by UNESCO. It translates to ‘Dance of The Flyers’ in English. You will be at the edge of your seat while watching this traditional performance. It starts with five dancers scaling a pole, 30 meters in height. After this, four members descend towards the floor with a rope, while the fifth member stays at the top, playing drum and a flute.

The four descending members tied merely by a rope, spin, and twirl on their way down. There is a widespread belief that Los Voladores de Papantla was created to pray to the Gods to end a severe drought.


Concheros is an ethnic Mexican dance form with dancers featuring in body paint and headdresses. It gets its name from an armadillo shell lute, showing European and Spanish influences. Some of the other heavily used instruments are the drum and the flute. The Concheros dances have their roots in the northern Chichimeca cultures.

This dance form has been known by various names throughout history, with the most modern one being Concheros. Some of the other names used are Huehenches, Aztecas, Chichimecas, and Mexicas. It is based on the ‘mitote’ dance but has been adapted to incorporate Catholic symbolism to preserve ancient rituals.

Danza de los Diablos

Danza de los Diablos is the link to the African heritage of Mexico, the Guerrero/Oaxaca. This dance form originated during the colonial period when African slaves were brought to the Mexican coast. The attire of the Danza de los Diablos dance is the same for all the dancers who wear masks. The leading performer who plays the role of Diablo Mayor dresses more elegantly.

Danza de los Diablos involves movements in circles of the back, of the front, grunting and throwing, and forced movements. Each performance can contain 12, 16, 24, or 36 elements. In Cuajinicuilapa, dozens of people perform this dance, popularly known as the ‘Dance of the Devils’. It has a special place in the hearts of the people, especially among the youth.


The traditional Mexican dance Matlachines has many similarities with Danza de los Viejitos. The dancers wear wooden shoes to make an impactful sound with each step. The costumes are colorful and vibrant, usually in sync with the colors of the flag of Mexico. Matlachines is popular in the northern part of the country, especially in Zacatecas.

Tlaxcala stakes the claim to the origin of this dance, but people believe that it originated in Aguascalientes. The idea behind the art form was combining the colonial and pre-historic dance and music. The Patron Saint festivals usually witness the performance of Matlachines.   

Moros y Cristianos

Moros y Cristianos originated sometime in the 16th century and is one of the traditional dances that is not native to Mexico. It is mostly performed in many cities in Spain but is also very popular in Mexico. Initially introduced by monks, it is also known as the ‘Dance of the Moors and Christians’ in English.  Dancers perform Moros y Cristianos to commemorate fights, battles, and combats between the Moors and the Christians during the Reconquista period.

During the Moros y Cristianos dances, depending on the allegiance they are depicting, Moors or Christians, all the dancers wear masks and capes. Armies of both sides march in processions.  The participants are in hundreds, sometimes thousands. The dancers announce their grand entry with loud music and fireworks.


Chinelos is a traditional Mexican dance form that takes a mocking tone towards the Europeans. The dancers are disguised as Europeans, imitating their fair color and elaborate sense of dressing. The elaborate attire, with the fancy gloves, arrogant stance with an uptilted beard mocks the salon dancing upper class from the time of the ‘French Intervention’.

Dancers originally performed Chinelos in carnivals in the southern part of Mexico City, Mexico state, and Morelos. It has now come to symbolize the state of Morelos, which has the most significant number of groups of Chinelos dancers.

Latin American dance | History, Styles, & Facts

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Latin American dance, dance traditions of Mexico, Central America, and the portions of South America and the Caribbean colonized by the Spanish and the Portuguese. These traditions reflect the distinctive mixtures of indigenous (Amerindian), African, and European influences that have shifted throughout the region over time.

This article surveys selected genres of dance across the vast and diverse region of Latin America. After a brief consideration of dance in preconquest cultures (for further treatment, see Native American dance), the narrative turns to the profound influence on dance practice of the European-imposed Roman Catholic Church and its calendar of festivals and commemorations. At the same time, imported elite dance practices became part of the colonial cultures and were in turn infused with local and regional flavours. From the 19th century on, national variations have asserted themselves throughout dance practice in Latin America and in the Latino cultures of North America. (Latin American music shows a similar path of development; a great deal of the region’s nonclassical music, both vocal and instrumental, accompanies or shares a history with dance.)

Although the article discusses theatrical derivatives of traditional dance (which are often grouped under the name folklórico) because of their visibility and importance in the region, not included are international forms of concert dance, such as ballet and modern dance. After a chronological survey of broad trends, with examples, the article focuses on individual countries. Haiti, which was colonized by the French, is included in this article because it shares important African-derived ritual practices with Brazil and Cuba and because its history is entwined with that of the Dominican Republic. Perhaps needless to say, this article can only skim the surface of such a vast topic.

From encounter to independence

On their arrival in the Western Hemisphere in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, explorers from the Iberian kingdoms of Portugal and Castile (Spain) encountered peoples—even entire empires—previously unknown to Europeans. A few of the Europeans wrote about the music and dance practices they observed during ritual festivals among the local populations. The indigenous populations were decimated by disease, forced labour, and warfare, and their history was disrupted. In the Caribbean very few indigenous people survived, but on the mainland significant populations managed to preserve their communities.

Some early dance history can be inferred from the archives and from what seem to be continuous practices. For example, creation stories were a common aspect of indigenous spiritual practice, and their telling often incorporated dance as a vital element. Natural forces (i.e., gods and goddesses) and animal spirits were honoured or represented as dramatic actors; dance rituals were often meant to forestall or explain cataclysmic events. The great civilizations of the Aztec and Inca (like the Roman Catholic Church of their conquerors) organized time according to complex ritual calendars, and dance was essential in their communal ritual life.

The dances of the Aztec were precisely structured and executed. Priests trained young people in the movements of the ritual dances and organized the ceremonies into massive arrangements of dancers who moved in symbolic geometric patterns. Combat was a major theme that featured male dancers: weapons in hand, individuals or groups of dancers enacted struggles between gods or between military units such as eagle warriors and jaguar warriors. Dances could last more than a day to test the warrior-dancers’ endurance and commitment. In some ceremonies dancers moved in columns to represent revolving astral bodies in their annual and millennial circuits; in others they represented planters working in looping zurcos (furrows). In the danza de los voladores (“dance of the fliers”), one of the few surviving preconquest dances of Mesoamerica, traditionally four fliers (dancers) who are suspended upside down from the top of a tall pole make 13 revolutions for a combined total of 52; in the Nahuatl belief system of the Aztec and Toltec peoples, 52 years make a “year-binding,” or xiuhmolpilli.

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Ritual contexts

The institution of the Roman Catholic Church—with its rituals, doctrines, and ways of looking at the world—accompanied the Iberians to the New World and was integral to the functioning of the viceroyalties in New Spain (based in Mexico; 1535–1821) and Peru (1542–1824), which between them administered the colonial territories of the Spanish. After the military conquest, religious music, dance, processions, and festivals became tools of cultural transformation and social control. Catholic priests and monks—Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Augustinians—allowed, even encouraged, indigenous dancers to continue their rituals, modified to incorporate Catholic saints and ideas in place of their own. The indigenous peoples adapted their own rich calendar of public festivals to new uses and new places. Into the present day, ancient ritual dances echo in the yearly observances that take place in front of churches and at other sacred sites, especially as part of the patronal fiestas, the festivals in honour of a town’s (or country’s) patron saint.

In Roman Catholic countries around the world, nonliturgical Carnival celebrations mark the last-chance merrymaking that occurs during the weeks before Ash Wednesday, the day that begins the austere 40-day period of Lent; in many parts of Latin America, Carnival parades feature exuberant group dances. As in the religious pageants, fantasy and elaborate costuming allow the Carnival dancers to become the “other” and to use dance as a means of escaping the anxieties of everyday life.

Perhaps the most widespread dance ritual of Latin America derives from the dance of Moors and Christians (la danza de Moros y Cristianos), which was performed at major religious festivals in medieval Spain. The dance was based on an older form of religious street theatre, autos sacramentales (“mystery plays”), portrayals of the competition of forces of good and evil. In the 8th century Moors had brought Islam to Spain from North Africa, and Christians in Spain fought to regain ground until 1492, when the houses of Aragon and Castile expelled the remaining Muslims. (For more on that period, see Spain: Christian Spain from the Muslim invasion to about 1260.) After the dance-drama was imported to Mesoamerica and Peru in the 16th century, the oppositional forces in it were refashioned to cast the Spanish (good) against the Indians (bad). Although the danza de los Moros y Cristianos exists throughout Latin America, it is known by a variety of names, including danza de la conquista, danza de los Moros, marujada (in Brazil), and danza de Santiago.

Blended rituals such as la danza de la conquista became part of colonial religious festivals. Theatrical enactments of the conquest, or farsas de guerra (“war farces”), played a prominent role in entertaining and enculturating colonial populations. In Mexico the entertainments became known as mitotes (from the Nahuatl mitotia, “to make dances”). Mitotes drew upon both Spanish dramatic action, which featured lengthy sections of dialogue, and the Aztec and Chichimec Indian tradition of using divided bands of enemies to represent the central theme of battle.

The conquest dances were taken to Spain and performed for elite audiences. Although their popularity faded in Spain during the 17th century, these spectacles became models for further ritual dances in the New World. July 25 marks the feast day of St. James (Santiago, Spain’s patron saint) throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America. For this major festival, many local traditions included dances to commemorate ancient battles between opposing forces. Dances of los vejigantes in Puerto Rico and los tastoanes in Mexico are prominent examples. In both festivals there are representations of Spanish horsemen and masked figures representing African slaves or members of the indigenous resistance.

Upper-class immigrants from Europe brought with them their fashionable social dances (los bailes de salón). The aristocracy of the viceroyalties kept up with a succession of popular European dances. These included open-couple dances, in which couples generally did not touch—such as minuet, allemande, sarabande (zarabande in Spanish), chaconne, galliard, pavane, and volta. The interdependent-couple contredanse (contradanza in Spanish) and its variations (quadrille, lancer, and cotillion) were developing during the 17th century. Such choreographed dances of intricate geometries originated in Europe before sweeping quickly through Latin American ballrooms and dance salons during the 18th century. The fashion caught on across the social spectrum; for example, indigenous dancers in northeast Mexico adopted the contradanza into their ritual expression of the matlachines dance.

Contradanzas and quadrilles remained common throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in the early 21st century. Their characteristic interlacing lines, bridges, circles, and grand right-and-left patterns are easily recognized in hundreds of dances. In the Caribbean, contradanzas and quadrilles included the bélè, belair, and belén, as well as kadril and numerous other variants of quadrille. In northeastern Brazil they became quadrilhas, the traditional dances for the festival of St. John the Baptist (São João) on June 24; the dances remained popular in the Northeast, and into the 21st century quadrilha competitions occurred on the state and national level.

As struggles for independence roiled Latin America during the 19th century, closed-couple dances, specifically the waltz, schottische, and polka, became fashionable in elite society. In closed-couple dances the partners touch most of the time; as a result, these dances were considered rebellious acts of sexual immorality. In addition the new couple dances were distinctive because each couple could choose steps from a range of possibilities. With the passage of time, these social dances became commonplace and their intimacy more accepted. The dances migrated to the countryside, where most of the people of African heritage lived. African-influenced hip movements—which could be seen as sexually suggestive—were incorporated into the dances, and they again transgressed the Roman Catholic Church’s standards of morality.

Traditional Mexican dances (part 1)




| Folk dances

Dances of the peoples of the world

Mexican dances

Like all folk dances, traditional Mexican dances provide an excellent opportunity to become more closely acquainted with the culture of the region. Not only do Mexican dances perfectly reflect the groovy rhythms of the country's music, the dancers very often wear traditional Mexican clothing and jewelry that has not changed for thousands of years. nine0004

Mexican dances

Traditional Mexican dances

Mexican culture is felt in all the traditional dances of the country. Many Mexican families are very zealous about religion, and for many generations they observe national traditions and holidays. Dance has long assumed a special role during such celebrations. Mexicans dance at birthday parties, during religious events and agricultural holidays. Tourists visiting Mexico enjoy going to performances of the Jarabe Tapatio (Mexican hat dance), Danza del Venado (Deer Dance) or Tlacolorerosis (agricultural dance). Although these traditional dances have very different origins and styles, they provide an insight into different aspects of Mexican culture. nine0004

Mexican dances

Jarabe Tapatio

The Mexican hat dance was named the national dance of Mexico in 1924, because the dance brought together several different cultures, and it also well reflects the national identity. The national dance has also become a symbol of Mexico throughout the world, especially in the United States.

Mexican dances

A man and a woman participate in the dance, with the man making every effort to seduce his partner during the dance. At first, the two dancers flirt, but then the woman stops paying attention to courtship. But nevertheless, at the end of the joyful dance, the woman accepts signs of attention. Traditional Mexican culture used to forbid performing this dance in public, but the culture has changed over the centuries, and this dance can now be seen on the street. nine0004

Mexican dances

Accompanied by Mexican folk music that was created in the 19th century. Today, Mexicans perform Jarabe Tapatí at various holidays and other major events.

The famous ballerina Anna Pavlova once performed a ballet version of this dance, and it brought her fame in Mexico.

Mexico, folk dances, traditions, ethnicity

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▷ Traditional Mexican Dances 🥇 en.

In the culture of Mexico we find exciting dances with a long history. While some are very lively, others are slower. Likewise, there may be various influences in them, although some are local. In this article, we will tell you the name and tell you about the most important. In addition, we will show you images and videos.

Below you have an index with all the items we are going to cover in this article.


  • 1 Tapatio syrup

    When it comes to dancing, a man surrounds a woman to woo her. She stomps and waves her skirt. Both wear typical village costumes: the man is dressed in a charro suit, and the woman in poblana porcelain.

    If you want to know more about the country's typical dress, we recommend that you visit this article: Mexico's typical costumes by region.

    This regional dance is so typical that it is usually danced at a Quinceañera party where a young woman celebrates that she is 15 years old and therefore has passed into adulthood. nine0004


    This folk dance is quite amazing for people who don't know it, as their dancers are dressed like elders. He is represented in Michoacán and was born in the city of Haracuaro.

    In the beginning, this dance, dating from pre-Spanish , was performed as part of a ritual in honor of an old god or god of fire. The costume they wear consists of a wooden mask, a cane, wooden-soled shoes, trousers, a white shirt, and Mexican shawl or jorongo ,

    He mexican shawl or jorongo This is a typical men's garment from Mexico, traditionally used to protect against cold and rain. It looks like a poncho and is usually quite colorful.

    The main characters are four men who imitate old people through their falls and the way they walk. They are led by a couple known as Veripiti and Maringuía . They are also ugly teasing dance of four old men , In Michoacan, children are taught from an early age.


    Huapango is practiced in various states, including Hidalgo, Puebla, San Luis Potosi and Veracruz. Therefore, in each territory we find different variants, although they have certain common characteristics.

    This Mexican dance is usually performed on a wooden stage. Usually the man wears white trousers and a hat, while the woman wears a rather wide white skirt. Music is performed by three people who play the violin and buster and huapanguera (two types of guitar).

    La Bamba

    Bamba is one of the mixed dance the most representative of the state of Veracruz. It mixes the seguidillas and fandangos of Spain with the zapateados and guajiras originating in Cuba.

    This dance is represented by one couple, and the color that prevails in both people is white. Between them they form a loop with the movement of their steps, as we can see in this video:

    Yucatecan Jarana

    The Yucatecan Jarana is typical of the Yucatan Peninsula. One aspect that draws the most attention is that the dancers wear objects on their heads while representing the dance.

    This style began between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the Spaniards who were in the area danced. Over time, the Mexicans adapted it to their style. He dances like a couple and walks dressed in white.

    Deer dance

    This pre-Hispanic dance is practiced in state Sonora . It has three symbols: deer (an animal revered by the natives), pascola and coyote. The dance represents deer hunting, so the person who plays this role must be quite nimble.

    The instruments that interpret the music of the deer dance are percussion, in addition to the reed flute.


    Conjeros developed after the arrival of the settlers in the territory, so although it is an indigenous dance, it incorporates Spanish elements such as some religious themes.

    This dance has two forms. One is called hours and honors femininity, night, mother earth and the jaguar. The other reveres masculinity, the day, solar energy and the eagle. One of the elements that make up the costumes are feathers.

    Northern Polka

    This popular dance is the mestizo, as its origin is German. The natives watched the upper classes of the settlers dance it and they ended up adapting it to their style.

    This is practiced mainly in the northern states, among which we find Baja California, Coahuilla, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Sonora and Tamaulipas.

    Pineapple flower

    Pineapple flower is a dance that originated in San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. This is very recent, from the 20th century. At 19In 58, Governor Alfonso Pérez Gasga ordered that the author Samuel Mondragón develop an aboriginal choreography for a piece of music with that title.

    The responsible person was Polina Solis. Since then, this dance has only been performed by women who wear huipil or a sleeveless shirt in bright colors and two long braids with colored stripes. In addition, they carry a pineapple on their shoulder.


    Raspa is a representative dance of Eastern Mexico that originates in Veracruz. It is a mestizo dance because it mixes elements of the natives with the forms of the settlers. Because of its light structure, children are usually taught in school. nine0004


    Quebradita is also known as rocking horse .

    In his music we hear the rhythm of the Mexican cumbia. This is a fusion of two different musical styles: techno and folklore. In it, the man hugs the woman around the waist and puts his right leg between the two legs of the girl.

    Learn more