How to play the mexican hat dance

The Mexican Hat Dance - Jarabe Tapatio

The jarabe Tapatío is a Mexican dance, often called the national dance of Mexico.

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The jarabe Tapatío is a Mexican folk dance, often called the national dance of Mexico, and better known internationally as the Mexican hat dance. Despite its rather innocent steps by today’s standards (dancers do not touch one another), early 19th century colonial authorities found the moves too sexually suggestive and even challenging to Spanish rule.

They banned the dance, inspiring popular appreciation for the Jarabe Tapatío in Mexico, as the ban added an element of rebellious expression to it and provided an opportunity for dancers eager to make a statement on social freedom and political independence a chance to subtly defy the colonizers.

Mexican independence in 1821 brought a new sense of cultural awareness, and the popularity of jarabe dances spread even more, along with national identity. Although other varieties of jarabe exist including jarabe de Jalisco, jarabe de atole and jarebe Moreliano, the Tapatío version, which originated in Guadalajara, is the most famous.The dance celebrates romantic courtship. It is usually performed by a man and a woman, where the man appears to invite his partner into a world of intimate affection. At first, the woman rejects her partner’s advances, but warms up to his persistence as the two dance on, only to reject him again when her positive signals inspire excessive giddiness in her suitor.


During the dance, the man’s sombrero is placed on the ground, and after lively hopping, sliding and kicking around the sombrero, the woman bends to pick up the hat, at which point the man kicks his leg over her head. Needless to say, timing and careful choreography are important. Then the performance closes when she holds the hat up and both dancers’ faces disappear behind it, leaving captivated audiences to assume that the two are finally confirming mutual romantic interest and sealing it with a kiss.


The Mexican hat dance and the dancer’s clothing have become nationally and internationally recognizable symbols of Mexican heritage. Women wear a wide, colorfully decorated skirt and blouse outfit, the style of which is called China Poblana. The origin of the name and style of the skirt has inspired curious legends including that of a beautiful 17th century princess from India named Mirra who was kidnapped, taken to the Philippines, and sent to Mexico to be sold there as a slave. Her exotic and vibrant clothing left such an impression, that woman in Mexico began copying the style and adapting and embellishing it to popular indigenous tastes.

Men traditionally wear a black suit with metallic embroidery called a charro. The man’s pant legs are lined with silver buttons that highlight his flashy kick and stamp moves. The origin of the name of the dance itself has also stirred some controversy. The Arabic word Xarab means mixture of herbs. The name may refer to the mix of influences that created the dance style, which includes waltz, polka, and indigenous American dances.


The music that accompanies the dance may be performed by mariachi bands or other types of string instrument groups. Originally composed by Jesus Gonzalez Rubio in 1924, the song increases its tempo as the steps and story line of the dance intensify.The jarabe Tapatío dance is a Mexican folk art that recalls the sense of national identity fostered by post revolutionary efforts to unify and celebrate its traditions and culture. The charm and grace of the dance along with the vivid color of its clothing, which provides viewers with a swirling collage of vibrancy and shine, have captured the hearts of folk art lovers in Mexico and around the world.

Simple Mexican Dance Steps for Children

By: Amelia Allonsy Updated September 15, 2017

Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

By: Amelia Allonsy Updated September 15, 2017

Music and dance are a big part of cultural identity in Mexican tradition. Among the most well known Mexican dances are the Jarabe Tapatio, or Mexican Hat Dance, and the Danza del Venado, Dance of the Deer, a ritual dance that is more difficult to master. Latin dances like the chacha and samba are also popular throughout Latin America and Mexico.

Mexican Hat Dance

The Mexican Hat Dance, or Jarabe Tapatio, is the official dance of Mexico. The dance is a symbol of pride in Mexican heritage and is even taught as part of the curriculum in Mexican public schools. Traditionally, the dance tells the story of love and courtship between a couple, but this dance can be performed alone or with a partner.

To perform the Mexican Hat Dance, stand with feet together and arms down by your sides. Kick your heel out three times, alternating feel each time; clap twice. Repeat this eight times until chorus. At chorus, link elbows with a partner and skip around in a circle. Circle once, and then circle the opposite direction. Repeat with a different partner throughout chorus.

The song that accompanies the Mexican Hat Dance, also called the "Jarabe Tapatio," begins slowly but speeds up greatly during the chorus.


In a traditional Mariachi dance, women wear long, layered skirts. Ladies often use the extra fabric of their skirts in dances. Young children should be able to pick up this dance step easily.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, grasping the skirt in either hand at knee length. March in place to the beat of the music. While marching, cross one arm in front of body, as if to throw the skirt. Do not actually release the skirt with your throw, however; repeat with the other arm. Students could also turn with each throw of the arm using a turning and spotting technique in which a student focuses on one spot while turning.

The main point of this dance is to play up the flowing nature of the skirt. Instead of marching, children could alternate kicking one leg out to the side while swishing their skirts. Movements should be quick and sharp.


Although the ChaCha originated in Cuba, it is a popular dance in Mexican culture. Children can easily master the basics of this classic Latin dance; it is also a great way to teach students to count beat.

For children who are just learning to count beats, it may be helpful to repeat this phrase while dancing, "One, two, cha-cha-cha." The basic dance move is two slow steps, followed by three quick steps. Start with feet shoulder width apart. Step forward with one foot, then rock back onto back foot on the "1-2" count. Then take three quick steps in place to the beat of the "cha-cha-cha" part of the phrase. Repeat these steps, but alternate and start with a different foot each time.

Writer Bio

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

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Mexican Jarabe Dance - Culture of Mexico

Jarabe is a colorful folk dance common in the west, center and southeast of Mexico. May be accompanied by a perky song. Usually its size is beaten off by heels and is 6/8, 3/4 or 2/4.

The Mexican Jarabe has its predecessor, the Gypsy Jarabe, originally from Andalusia. He had verses, decomposed into voices by thirds. According to researchers, jarabe originated on the territory of the modern states of Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Queretaro and the elevated part of Jalisco, i.e. northern part of the central region of Mexico at the end of the 18th century.

Kharabe is a pair dance depicting the courtship of a man for a woman who first rejects him, and then accepts his signs of attention.

There is a hypothesis that the word "harabe" is of Arabic origin, from a word that meant happiness or holiday. Another version says that "harabe" in Arabic meant "a mixture of herbs", thus emphasizing the syncretism of various musical styles in one work.

Of all the varieties of jarabe, jarabe tapatio in the state of Jalisco has become the most common. Tapatío is an adjective that refers to the geographical location of this state or its capital, Guadalajara. Currently, the jarabe tapatio is one of the most famous folklore dances in Mexico at the international level. The unifying symbolism of Jalisco's jarabe arose from its mixture of Mexican dance styles from different states and regions. Its melody is played by an ensemble of mariachi musicians. But practically every state in the west, center and southeast of Mexico has its own jarabe, which, although they have some differences, are united by common points: the size, the mixing of various melodies and the absence of song verses in most of the dances. In particular, we can name specific jarabe dances that exist in the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla and Tlaxcala. In the state of Coahuila, there is a variation of this dance called jarabe patenho.


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The instrumentation of the harabe depends on the region where it is performed. Modern mariachis are played in Jalisco, however, in the neighboring state of Nayarit, the main feature is still the absence of wind instruments and the presence of a harp, which has not been used by mariachi groups from Jalisco and Colima for a long time. The jarabe variants from Michoacán and Guerrero are performed exclusively on stringed instruments. In Michoacan, the harp is the main instrument, while in Guerrero this role is disputed between the drum and the violin. In Oaxaca, on the contrary, harabes are performed by ensembles consisting of traditional wind instruments.

A man in a jaraba wears the traditional costume of a charro, a Mexican wealthy landowner who devotes his free time to the art of riding horses and competitions, with a row of silver buttons on the outside of the trousers, a short jacket similar to a torero jacket with a row of buttons in front, a wide-brimmed sombrero hat , a white shirt with a bow tie in contrasting colors (red, blue, black), black shoes, a leather belt or belt with ties on both sides on the sides. As a male jarabe dance costume from Jalisco, the corporal (in Mexico, this word refers to the person in charge of the draft cattle) is used, which differs from the charro costume. On the sides of the trousers are trimmed in the form of stripes, not buttons, and the jacket is decorated in the same way. The stripes feature curlicue-shaped figures typical of Mexican rural culture. A male harabe suit must be a unique piece of clothing.

The original women's costume for jarabe was once the outfit of a rural fashionista called "ranchera" (owner or resident of the rancher) from the 19th century Jalisco region. A frill and small decorations in the form of flowers were sewn onto the skirt. This outfit was complemented by floral patterns and flounces, being in fact a mixture of European and Mexican traditions. White dresses, or gala dresses, on which colored ribbons or frills are sewn only from the bottom, are more often used in cities. Dresses embroidered with colored ribbons give more dynamism to the movements of the dancers, turning them into multi-colored whirlwinds. A variation of the women's costume that is performed on international dance floors and represents Mexico is the costume of the "Chinese woman from Puebla" ("poblana china"), without a doubt the most spectacular.


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An interesting historical detail is worth noting. Jarabe tapatio at the beginning of the 20th century was very popular. Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, during her trip to Mexico in 1919, fell in love with the dance and its magnificent costumes, which became one of the manifestations of Mexican national culture. She included harabe in her permanent repertoire and performed it on pointe shoes and in a “chiny” costume.

Kharabe in the form in which it is known now, consisted of different melodies. The oldest of these was the gypsy jarabe of Andalusian origin, which was sung and danced by the first Spaniards who arrived in America. A large number of other melodies enriched the harabe and became so popular that they were performed at holidays, dance evenings, accompanied by texts of spicy, lyrical or satirical content.

Based on ¡It's all Mexico!

▷ Traditional Mexican Dances 🥇

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
  • 2 Old
  • 3 Huapango
  • 4 La Bamba
  • 5 Yukatkekan Jaran
  • 6 troops dance
  • 9004 8 North Polish Polka Academic
  • 11 brittle

Tapatio syrup

Tapatio syrup is National dance from Mexico. It originated in the 19th century in Jalisco and combines several regional dances. The word tapatío refers to the zapateado performed by men.

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 typical dress of the country, we recommend that you visit this article: Typical Mexican 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.


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-Hispanic , 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 walking stick, 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 dances 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: the deer (an animal revered by the natives), pascola and the 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 Leon, 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.