How to dance at mexican parties

How to Party Like the Mexicans Do

From dressing to impress to the importance of tequila, Nomad Anne shares her top three tips for partying like a local in Mexico.

Photo © Getty Images/

COVID-19 (coronavirus) update: Though the land border between the US and Mexico is currently closed to non-essential traffic, Mexico is open to visitors from around the world. Read the latest travel restrictions and how they may affect you. Keep in mind that this article was written before the pandemic, and take appropriate steps to stay safe.

Anyone who has been living (and partying) abroad knows that your nightlife expertise depends immensely on your framework of reference. Asians party differently than Germans, and Germans party differently than Mexicans. After a few fun-filled nights out in Mexico, here are the things I learned from the locals. 

Rule number one: you siempre (always) say si (yes) to a fiesta (party).  Vámonos (let's go).

1. Preparing for your night out in Mexico

Mexicans dress to impress, and although it took me some time getting used to a whole hour in the bathroom to get ready before leaving, I get it.

After all, a party is an important gathering, and you want to look your best. Before the men reading this shy away, stay with me! This is also for you. In most clubs in larger Mexican cities – Mexico City, Puebla, Guadalajara, and Monterrey – high heels, carefully applied make-up, and nice clothing is crucial for women. For the guys, this means you're expected to wear dress shoes and a button-down shirt. Bouncers and the local ladies share this expectation. So, if you think you can make it into a club wearing sneakers and a T-shirt, think again!

Fun word fact: the word pedo in Mexican Spanish is one of the most versatile words I've ever encountered. Depending on context, intonation, and syntax (it can be used as a noun or adjective) it might mean fart, drunk, or problem. It might also be used to greet someone or to say that someone is fun to hang out with. You might use this word to increase your street credibility, but be aware that you might end up saying something completely different from what you intended.

2. Get some tequila and get ready to dance

At a Mexican party, you won't just learn new skills – dancing and speaking Spanish – but also achieve a higher sense of awareness of what you are capable of. This, however, cannot be achieved alone.

Get some tequila, and make sure it's the good stuff. Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, and a good tequila will be made wth 100% agave juice. If it's not 100% agave, the remainder will likely be sugar or other additives, which are a crippling hangover ready to happen.

Good tequila is smooth and tasty enough to be sipped straight – there's no need to shoot it.

If you're like me, your legs will start twitching as soon as you hear the congas and charangas of salsa, or the simple kick drum of reggaeton. Go with it. Dance and take pride in your dancing.

In one of my favorite spoken-words-poetry performances, Steve Roggenbuck talks about how dancing is the closest we get to celebrating the fact that we are alive. If someone asks you to dance, don’t be afraid you might make a fool of yourself. I found Mexican men and women to be very patient with clunky foreigners learning to salsa, and they will assure you that your dancing skills are fantastic a long time before this is actually true.

You might also be surprised by the amount of Western/American music you'll hear in Mexican clubs. This is your chance: You know the beat, the lyrics, the highs and lows – it’s your time to shine.

Finally, don’t forget to take a picture with the entire group. I don’t know why this is particularly important at Mexican parties, but it usually enlarges the already huge group of people you are with, and makes a great memory the next day.

3. The aftertaco

Unless you’ve left the club early with a special someone, do as the Mexicans do and hit their preferred after-party taco place.

Pick your remedy among many delicious choices such as: gringas (tacos with grilled beef and melted cheese), tacos al pastor (boneless spit-grilled pork loin with an adobo sauce), or quesadillas. Add to all of these cilantro, onion, pineapple, and of course lime and typical hot sauces prepared in the taquerias. Avocado Serrano sauce, red hot sauce, and pico de gallo (which is a delicious tomato), onion, Serrano pepper and cilantro mix, all chopped and mixed with lime and salt.

Now, before going home, take a detour and stop at the night shop to buy some Clamato, beer, and limes to invite your friends over for an excellent Mexican recovery drink the next day.

Take off your fancy shoes, and fall on your bed. You’ve done it. You’ve partied like the locals do, and maybe you found an entire group of new friends, learned a thing or two about the best Mexican party drinks, and realized that you can indeed dance salsa.

By Anne Von Petersdorff,

World Nomads Contributor - Wed, 10 Oct 2018

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Traditional Mexican Dances You Should Know About

Traditional and folkloric dances are hugely popular in Mexico | Courtesy of @ Richard Ellis / Alamy

Lauren Cocking

Northern England Writer17 March 2021

Traditional Mexican dances merge the country’s indigenous, African and European influences. The Spanish were unsuccessful in trying to suppress indigenous dance during colonial times; instead, Spanish culture became part of the routines. Styles such as folklorico and jarabe have become a celebrated part of Mexico’s national identity, with dedicated troupes, such as the Ballet Folklorico, performing them.

The Jarabe Tapatío is the best known of all Mexico’s traditional dances | Courtesy of © White Barn Inn And Spa / Alamy

We’re kicking off with what is easily the most internationally well known, and arguably the most patriotic, of all of Mexico’s traditional dances – the Jarabe Tapatío. Typically referred to as the Mexican Hat Dance in English – at one point the steps revolve around a sombrero placed on the floor – Mexico’s national dance is intricately linked with its pride as a nation. One aspect that possibly aids the enduring popularity of this courtship dance (aside from ballerina Anna Pavlova’s en pointe version) is the distinctly Mexican clothing; the male dancer wears a charro suit and the female dancer a china poblana dress.

La Conquista (the Conquest) is a traditional Mexican dance that, as the name suggests, narrates the story of the Spanish conquest. Masked dancers play all the key historical players, from the conquistador Hernán Cortés and La Malinche, a Nahua woman who acted as his interpreter and adviser, to the Aztec ruler Moctezuma. The dance depicts the death of the latter at the hands of the former. It’s particularly popular in the western states of Michoacán and Jalisco, and although it’s not an indigenous dance, the tragic story it depicts is vital in terms of Mexican history, including the story of those who were here before the European arrival.

Popular in the state of Michoacán is the Danza de los Viejitos (Dance of the Little Old Men). Technically, this dance was created and popularised in the 20th century, but its roots and rhythm are rooted firmly in traditional folk dance. The four old men in question represent earth, air, fire and water. This dance is notable for the wooden shoes worn by the dancers, which certainly make each step they take that much more impactful. Traditional instruments and indigenous clothing are also featured in the dance, which often finds itself compared to a similar dance known as Huehuenches or Huehues.

Another of Mexico’s ritualistic dances is the Danza del Venado | Courtesy of © Brian Overcast / Alamy

Another of Mexico’s ritualistic dances is the Danza del Venado (Deer Dance), which depicts the story of a deer hunt and is typically performed in springtime. Originating in the Yaqui regions of Sonora and Sinaloa, renditions of this practically unchanged dance are now performed across the country and even in parts of the USA. The great thing about the dance is that it’s instantly identifiable, as the dancers wear real or imitation antlers with red ribbon accents on their heads.

Los Voladores de Papantla is a Unesco-listed symbol of Intangible Cultural Heritage | Courtesy © Richard Ellis / Alamy

Another iconic dance is Los Voladores de Papantla, considered by Unesco a symbol of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Prepare to be terrified, however, because the event begins with all five participants scaling a 30m (98ft) pole, from which four of them then proceed to drop – one lucky member remains at the top playing a flute and drum. Attached only by a rope, they gently twirl and spin, and then gracefully make their way to the ground.

Concheros (Shells) is predominantly an indigenous dance | Courtesy of © imageBROKER / Alamy

Featuring dancers dressed in indigenous costume, including headdresses and body paint, Concheros (Shells) is predominantly an indigenous dance. Although there’s some European influence here in the form of armadillo shell lutes, the other instruments that accompany it, such as the drums and flutes, are more authentic. You might hear Concheros referred to as the Chichimecas or Aztecas, and there is also a version called the Mexicas, which seeks to get back to the indigenous roots of the dance.

The Danza de los Diablos is often performed on the Day of the Dead | Courtesy of © Simone Hogan / Alamy

A dance that is key to understanding Mexico’s often sidelined African heritage is the Guerrero/Oaxaca-based Danza de los Diablos. Originally developed during the colonial period, during which the Spanish brought enslaved Africans to the coasts of Mexico, the dance features characteristics unique to the region. All the participants wear similar masks and dress, with the exception of the dancer interpreting the role of the main devil, who has more elegant attire. The dance is often performed on the Day of the Dead, and its movements are said to symbolise the breaking away of the Africans from the Spanish slave owners.

This dance is particularly popular and is performed all over the north of the country, particularly in Zacatecas. Matlachines is especially known for the colourful outfits the dancers wear, including chicken feather headdresses, usually dyed to match the colours of the Mexican flag, and, as with the Danza de los Viejitos, wood-soled shoes that help emphasise the sound of each step. Although Tlaxcala sometimes lays claim to Matlachines, it’s generally accepted that the dance originated in Aguascalientes.

One of the few entirely non-indigenous dances included in this guide is the so-called Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) dance. First introduced by monks, the dance is now typically included as part of a larger festival that includes other elements such as mock battles. The festivals represent the capturing of Spanish towns and cities by the Moors and the reconquering by the local Christian population, and are mainly held in Valencia in southern Spain. All participants, whether they are playing Moors or Christians, wear capes and masks depicting their allegiances.

The Chinelos dance pokes fun at the Spanish settlers | Courtesy of © Yaacov Dagan / Alamy

Now considered a symbol of the state of Morelos, although it was originally practised during carnival celebrations in the south of Mexico City and the State of Mexico, this dance pokes fun at the Spanish. The dancers disguise themselves (the word chinelos is thought to have come from the Nahuatl for “disguised”) and take on the roles of the Spanish, imitating their elaborate dress, as well as their fair colouring. The mask-wearing and role-reversal permitted at carnivals allowed for the mockery of Europeans, even in colonial times.

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Mexican party. 4 easy steps

Sombrero, tequila, cacti, chili peppers, fiery rhythms - of course, this is Mexico. And since I can’t go to the land of the scorching sun right now, then Mexico is already on its way to us!

4 easy steps to make your party unforgettable:

Step 1: Invitations

Once you have your guest list in place, it's time to tell them about the upcoming party. You can do it in person or write invitations electronically.

Sample invitation text:

Hola, Theodora! (guest name)
I invite you to take part in the Mexican Fiesta!
We will drink margaritas, eat nachos and dance a lot.
When: ________________
Where: __________________
Clothing: Bright colors, cravats, mustaches, sombreros, maracas, colored beads. Men's colored shirts.
Roles that you can try on: Mexican man of the Wild West (moustache, hat, poncho).
Street musician, gas station worker (white T-shirt and mustache with a beard), cowboy, Mexican dancer, bandit, Frida Kahlo.

The fantasy field is large and colorful. At the end, you will receive a prize for the best costume.

Password: Hot Chili Pepper.
I feel it will be hot, so keep your sombreros tight!

Idea: Change the names of your friends to the Mexican way, in this form they will sound more cheerful and set the right mood.

Step 2: Atmosphere

  • Mexico is a sunny country. Actively use orange, yellow, blue and green colors, combine them. Choose tablecloths, napkins in bright colors.
  • Cacti. What is a Mexican party without them? It's great if you can find a lot of real cacti, but you can make them yourself, we did just that. We made one big cactus out of cardboard, it became the hero of the party and all the photos. You can also order cacti from balloons. Pictures, photographs with their image will not be superfluous.
  • Fruit baskets, be sure to include lemons and limes.
  • Sombrerro, maracas, garland with the inscription "Welcome to Mexico"

We made the cactus ourselves, and found everything else in the Veselyaya Zateya store. There, a great selection of accessories for any theme party! We saved time and bought everything we needed. Our set looked like this.

Don't forget the music, here are some good songs:


    Drinks, there were different cocktails: Bloody Juanita, Tequila Boom, Margarita. Recipes can be found on the Internet and adapted to your needs.

    Step 4: Entertainment

    Between socializing and dancing, you can arrange competitions for guests.

    At the table:

    Guess the song (Song in the Mexican way)

    • The tornado screeched the hymn to him: sleep, cactus, fall asleep . .. (The snowstorm sang a song to her: sleep, Christmas tree, bye-bye ...)
    • A caballero full of energy walks along the Colorado River (A young Cossack walks along the Don)
    • Marianna, Marianna, this state of Guerrero is yours and mine (Alexandra, Alexandra, this city is ours with you)
    • And I strum the guitar in front of the seniors and señorite (And I play the harmonica in front of passers-by)
    • A conglomerate of scattered states united forever by little Mexico (Great Rus' united the indestructible free republics forever)

    "Sombrero and his amigos"

    The host shows the sombrero, talks a little about its history and meaning for the Mexican, and then offers to remember and name the "relatives" of the sombrero - that is, any headwear. Participants in a chain name one headdress at a time, it is impossible to repeat. Whoever calls last is considered the winner and receives a prize. In our case, the prize was the right to break the piñata first.

    Tacos Battle Game

    We will need: large wooden spoons and corn tortillas - the basis for tacos.

    Number of participants: 2 persons.

    Rules: First you need to outline the "battlefield", let's say a circle with a diameter of 2 meters. The “fighters” are not allowed to go outside the circle. Each participant receives a "weapon" - a wooden spoon with a cake hanging on it. At the command "start!" Competitors must use their spoon to try to knock the tacos off the opponent's spoon. The main task at the same time is to maintain balance, and not to drop your cake. The one whose tacos touch the ground first loses.

    In the dance part, you can hold a competition - dance Limbo (Limbo)

    "Recall everything"

    When the holiday comes to an end, the leader asks to remove the badges with the names that were distributed at the initiation into Mexicans at the very beginning. We check how attentive the guests were and what their memory is.

    We ended up smashing the piñata, this Mexican game for adults and children. It is made of cardboard and papier-mâché with decorations. The piñata is filled with various treats and toys and hung from the ceiling, and then smashed with a stick or pulled in turn by the ribbons until the contents fall to the ground.

    We also bought a piñata at the Vesyolaya Zateya store, in our home version, the entertainment with it looked like this.

    The idea to have a Mexican party came to me after a post on the blog "A house you want to come to." Varya, thanks for the inspiration!

    How do you feel about themed parties? Did you happen to conduct or participate in them? What theme would you choose for your party?

    Mexican style party - Cubanoboom. Salsa

    24.01.2014 15:02 Cubanoboom

    Mexico is an amazing and interesting country with its own customs, traditions and national costumes. A Mexican-style party is a sombrero, tequila and fun dancing. Mexican parties are bright and colorful, staying in memory for a long time.

    When organizing a Mexican party, you must put your heart and soul into creating a warm and sunny holiday atmosphere. You need to start by decorating the room in which the party will take place. To do this, use decor items in bright colors. Place an orange tablecloth on the table and place red and blue napkins. If possible, use earthenware that can serve, for example, meat in pots. Arrange cacti on the windowsill. Use Mexican attributes for decoration: a sombrero, striped towels resembling a poncho, a guitar. Also, old colored wicker rugs and chair pads are perfect for decor. It's a great idea to hang the Mexican flag in a prominent place or a garland of balloons in the colors of the Mexican flag. Pick the right Latin-style music for the party. Come up with a name for the party, for example, La tequila el boom (Tequila boom), write the name on paper with bright felt-tip pens and hang it on the door. The official language of Mexico is Spanish, so come up with some funny and festive expressions, write them in Spanish and hang them around the room, for example:

    – Con la fiesta! - Happy Holidays!
    – Hoy bebemos la tequila! - Today we drink tequila!
    – Que viva Mexico! Long live Mexico!

    After decorating the room, it's time to think about the Mexican menu. National dishes: burritos, guacamole , salsa with radish, tortillas. They must be present on your table. As for spirits, give preference to tequila, white and red wine.

    Mexican party wear is an important attribute. You can agree with the guests in advance about the need to come in Mexican costumes, or you can arrange a surprise for them and sew or buy such costumes. For men, multi-colored striped ponchos, red matador capes and sombreros are perfect. Do not forget to draw mustaches for men. For the female half, suggest wearing long bright skirts, colorful button-down blouses, leather corsets, short leather shorts and, of course, a sombrero.

    Learn more