Top 10 Most Popular Traditional Mexican Dance Styles You Should Know

Most Popular Traditional Mexican Dance Styles

Discover the enchanting beats and vibrant attire of traditional Mexican dance genres. This article provides a sneak peek into Mexican folk dances’ diverse and lively universe.

Mexico has exquisite landscapes, hospitable people, and vibrant culture.

The Mexican dance styles stand out as a testament to their uniqueness among the country’s many cultural gems.

These dance forms draw inspiration from the country’s native dances, with subtle influences from African and European cultures.

Such a blend of styles is unparalleled and cannot be found anywhere else in the world!

Now, here are the top most popular Traditional Mexican Dance Styles.

1. Chinelos dance – Popular Mexican dance style in Carnivals

Chinelos is a famous costumed dance that originated in the southern part of Mexico City and is now a symbol of the state of Morelos.

The dance is a satirical comedy that makes fun of the Spanish colonists who tried to suppress indigenous dance forms in the past.

During Carnivals, people could wear masks and do things that aren’t usually accepted, which is how Chinelos got the chance to flourish until today.

In Chinelos, dancers disguise themselves in costumes and masks, which is how the dance got its name. ‘Chineros’ comes from the Nahuatl word for ‘disguised’ (‘zineloquie’). Dancers typically imitate how Spaniards dress elaborately and wear masks with fair skin and beards.

Today, Chinelos dance groups are the most popular during Carnivals in Mexico City, but you can also see troupes dancing outside Carnivals. You can even hire dancers for special occasions.

Although Chinelos was initially created to mock Europeans, most people take it as good fun these days, so there’s no need to worry.

2. Concheros dance

If you’re interested in experiencing an authentic indigenous dance in Mexico, look no further than Concheros.

Unlike other regional dance styles, Concheros is primarily an indigenous dance with only minor European influences.

The dance has several other names, including Huehuenches, Chichimecas, Aztecas, and Mexicanas.

Concheros originated after the Spanish Empire defeated the Aztec Empire. Despite the Spanish’s efforts to erase indigenous culture, Concheros has survived and is still performed today.

During a Concheros performance, you’ll see dancers wearing traditional costumes resembling old Aztec regalia.

Each costume comprises various parts, often in vibrant colors and featuring animal parts or scenes related to Mexican culture, religion, history, and war.

The headdress worn by Concheros dancers is particularly impressive and majestic.

Dancers perform to traditional music played on drums, flutes, conch shells, lutes made from Armadillo shells, and more.

3. Danza de Los Diablos dance

If you’re interested in discovering the African influence in Mexican culture, a performance of Danza de Los Diablos (‘Dance of the Devils’) is a must-see.

During the Spanish colonization of Central and South America, Africans were brought to the continent as slaves.

They celebrated and danced on the days they were granted freedom, reviving some of their cultural traditions, such as a ritual honoring the Black God Ruja.

However, the Church prohibited dancing to any saint or God. In an act of rebellion, the slaves instead danced to the Devil, giving rise to Danza de Los Diablos.

During the dance, each participant wears a mask and costume. However, one dancer acts as the Devil and performs more elegantly than the others.

This dance is often performed on Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and is said to represent the African slaves’ break away from the Spanish planters. It is most popular in the Guerrero and Oaxaca regions of Mexico.

4. Danza del Venado dance

Indigenous dance troupes like the Yaquis and Mayos perform Danza del Venado (Deer Dance) in Sonora and Sinaloa.

The dance is named after the deer and honors its enduring spirit even after being hunted and felled. The dance symbolizes the world’s renewal in springtime and is typically performed during Lent or Easter.

Initially performed by hunters the night before a hunt, Danza del Venado is believed to bring success to the hunting crew.

Nowadays, dance is mainly performed as a ceremony to communicate with the spiritual world or as a performance art form.

During the dance, the performer wears a belt made of deer hooves and holds a gourd in each hand while rattles are tied to their ankles.

A deer head, either authentic or a replica, is worn on its head with red ribbons tied around the antlers, symbolizing flowers.

5. Danza de los Viejitos

The Dance of the Old Men, also known as Danza de los Viejitos, is a traditional dance style from the Michoacán state in Mexico.

The dance has a spiritual significance as it is believed to have originated from the Purépecha area in the northwestern part of Michoacán, where people celebrate El Dios Viejo (the Old God).

The dance is used to communicate with the Old God to ask for good harvests, talk to spirits, and gain insights into the past and the future.

A performance consists of four dancers, each representing one of the four elements: fire, earth, air, and water.

This is because four colors make up a good cornstalk: red, yellow, white, and blue, each corresponding to an element.

As with other traditional Mexican dances, the performers of Danza de Los Viejitos wear costumes and masks.

The sandals with wooden soles are a unique part of their outfit, producing a distinct clicking sound when they hit the ground during the dance.

6. Danza de los Voladores

The Dance of the Flyers, also known as Danza de Los Voladores, is a traditional dance that originated from the indigenous people of central Mexico.

It is a famous performance in the Totonicapán area in the northern parts of Veracruz and Puebla states of Mexico. Over time, it spread throughout Mesoamerica and gained popularity.

The dance involves four or five dancers who dance around a 30-foot-long pole. They then climb to the top of the bar and tie themselves to it with ropes.

Four dancers launch back to the ground while the fifth remains at the top, playing a lute and drum combination. The performance is truly remarkable and breathtaking to watch.

According to one Totonac myth, the Danza de Los Voladores was a ritual to ask the rain god Xipe Topec to end a devastating drought. Rain poured after the way was performed, and the lands became fertile again.

This dance is also known as Palo Volador (Flying Pole) and Los Voladores de Papantla (The Flyers of Papantla).

The latter is a tribute to the Papantla area of Veracruz, where the Totonacs, the people most commonly associated with the Danza de los Voladores, originated from.

7. Jarabe Tapatío  dance– The most well-known Mexican dance

The Mexican dance style known as Jarabe is widely recognized worldwide, often referred to in English as the “Mexican Hat Dance”.

The dance was traditionally performed around a sombrero placed on the floor. In the 1980s, Jarabe gained immense popularity in Mexican high society due to its focus on courtship, typically served as a pair consisting of one man and one woman.

The dance would begin with the man’s romantic advances being rejected, but by the end, he would win her over and dance “happily ever after”.

Like many other Mexican dances, Jarabe performers wear elaborate costumes. The man is dressed in a signature Mexican charro suit while his partner wears a China Poblana dress.

Typically, Jarabe Tapatío is performed to Mariachi music and is often seen at significant holidays in Mexico, such as Las Fiestas Patrias, Cinco de Mayo, and El Dieciséis de Septiembre.

Jarabe has become so popular that it has been thoroughly studied and adapted, and its influence can be seen in many modern Mexican dance styles.

If you can visit Mexico, catch a performance of this beloved dance style.

8. Matachines dance

In the Zacatecas region north of Mexico, the Matachines dance reigns supreme, also known as Matlachines, dates back to 1642.

The dance is recognized by the vibrant Buffon costumes adorned by the performers.

The headdress is made with chicken feathers dyed to match the colors of the Mexican flag. Additionally, they wear wooden-soled dance shoes, producing a clicking sound that complements their movements on stage.

While some dancers now perform the Matachines solely for entertainment, others continue to participate with a higher purpose in mind.

Specifically, they dance to honor the Mother Mary, Christ, God, and the Holy Trinity.

The origin of the Matachines dance is somewhat unclear, with some suggesting that it originated in Tlaxcala.

However, most experts indicate that it began in Aguascalientes.

9. Moros y Cristianos dance

The dance known as Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) was not originally from Mexico, but was brought to the country by monks in the 16th century.

Despite its foreign origins, it remains popular in many parts of Mexico, particularly in the Michoacán region.

Moros y Cristianos is often performed during large festivals, which feature mock battles, negotiations, and dances.

The theme of Moros y Cristianos is the historical campaign of the Moors against Spanish towns with primarily Christian populations.

Performers are split into two groups based on their religious affiliation, indicated by their masks.

Those who play the Moors wear masks and capes adorned with a crescent symbol, while those who portray the Christians wear similar attire marked with a cross.

Essentially, the dance is a historical reenactment in physical form!

10. La Conquista dance

The play “La Conquista” narrates the story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico and portrays the historical events through live performances.

The actors portray accurate historical figures like the Aztec ruler Moctezuma, the conquistadors Hernán Cortés, and La Malinche.

A female performer also plays the role of a Nahua woman, acting as a translator and adviser to the conquistadors.

The play demonstrates the tragic death of Moctezuma at the hands of the conquistadors and is quite popular in the western parts of Mexico, particularly in Michoacán and Jalisco.

Although it is not an indigenous dance, “La Conquista” serves as a means to educate people about the history of Mexico and to remember the culture and traditions of the people who thrived before the arrival of the Spaniards.


What is the famous Mexican dance style?

The famous Mexican dance style is known as “Baile Folklorico”. It is a traditional folk dance style with roots in indigenous and Spanish cultures.

This dance form typically includes choreography set to music, with dancers wearing colorful costumes and performing various steps.

Baile Folklorico is known for its vibrant energy, intricate footwork, precise formations, and poetic lyrics.

It has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its upbeat nature and bright colors; the colorful design of the costumes often reflects the lively culture of Mexico itself.

What is the most traditional Mexican dance?

The most traditional Mexican dance is the Jarabe Tapatio or the Mexican Hat Dance. It is a lively folk dance widely popular throughout Mexico and other Latin American countries.

This vibrant dance is performed with two dancers who wear traditional clothing and hats while dancing to a fast-paced waltz-like rhythm.

The male dancer leads by circularly taking steps while waving his hat in the air, while the female dancer follows behind, mirroring each of her partner’s moves.

Both dancers also alternate between facing and away from each other as they whirl around in a quick tempo.

The dance ends with the man holding his hat high up in the air, and both dancers can take their bows before leaving the stage.

Is bachata a Mexican dance?

No. It is not native to Mexico, but bachata is becoming increasingly popular in Mexico thanks to its catchy melodies and engaging choreography.

Bachata is a popular dance style that originated in the Dominican Republic and has spread across Latin America.

It’s a passionate and sensual dance that requires two people to move with each other in harmony.

Today, Mexican bachata classes are offered around the country as dancers explore this latin style of dancing.

What is the oldest Mexican dance?

The oldest Mexican dance is the ‘Jarabe Tapatío’, more commonly known as the ‘Mexican Hat Dance’.

This traditional folk dance originated in the state of Jalisco, Mexico and dates back to the 19th century.

It is a lively and energetic dance that features two rows of couples that take turns performing intricate footwork, interspersed with sweeping arm movements.

The dance is accompanied by a vibrant mariachi band playing fast-paced music with accordions and violins.

Is Salsa a Mexican Dance?

Yes, Salsa is a Mexican dance that originated in the 1900s. It is a combination of mambo, rumba, cha-cha-cha, and guaracha with Cuban and Puerto Rican influences.

It also includes African and Spanish elements such as cumbia from Colombia.

The exact origins of this dance are unknown but it is widely considered to be a melting pot of Latin American cultures.

Popularized by Latinos in North America during the 1970s, Salsa has become an iconic style of dancing popular throughout the world.

With its upbeat tempo and energetic movements, Salsa offers up lots of fun and excitement for all who partake!

What is the easiest Mexican dance?

The easiest Mexican dance is called Jarabe Tapatío, also known as the Mexican Hat Dance.

It began in Mexico City during the 19th century and has been a popular traditional dance throughout Latin America ever since.

The steps of this dance are easy to learn and follow, making it one of the most accessible and well-known dances for anyone.

It features light footwork paired with intricate hand and arm movements that come together to create an exciting show for both the participants and spectators alike.


In short, traditional Mexican dances represent the rich culture of Mexico, as they are deeply rooted in the country’s history and have been enjoyed by generations of Mexican people.

Despite losing much of Mexican culture and history due to the actions of the Spanish Empire, the country, its people, and its culture have persevered.

Many famous Mexican dance styles (known as baile Folklorico) still exist today in the 21st century.

Thanks to the Internet, you can now watch performances of all these dances online or on Youtube.

However, if you get the opportunity, seeing them live is highly recommended. The ambiance and magic in the air are truly worth experiencing.

Do you have a favorite Mexican dance style? Have you ever witnessed a live performance of any of these dances? If so, what was your experience like?

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