The Mexican Hat Dance is well known throughout the world as the national folk song of Mexico. Most of the time when people are asked to name a song related to Mexico, this song is recalled (along with songs like “La Cucaracha”). Popularity of this song and dance came from Anna Pavlova from Russia. This ballerina visited Mexico in 1919 and was so enthralled and passionate about the culture and costumes that she began performing the dance now performed throughout Mexico in the on pointe style while wearing a China Poblana outfit. Mexican culture embraced this with honor and placed it in permanent importance in the culture. The dance was created during the revolution at the beginning of the 1900’s to encourage national unity. The Jarabe style of dance in which the Mexican Hat Dance thrives is a combination of different styles of dance and song.
Costumes for men and women were not created simultaneously. The “standard” outfits worn for this style of song and dance hail from the 1800’s servant outfit (China Poblana) worn by the women and the charro suit worn by men during the 1930 emergence of Mariachi. Different combinations have been utilized throughout the history of the dance, but today it features a mixture of time periods, much like the style of music and dance this wonderful experience utilizes.
This style does not need to be performed by a set number of people. A solo performer is just as welcome to dance in this way as a large group at a party, however, the styles differ.
- Pair or group: Performers stand with their feet together and their arms by the sides. The partners move in circles around one another while performing various arm movements. Upon completion of the routine “olé” is exclaimed. Even when done in a group, pairing off occurs with little variance between one couple or several dancing at once. Young and old alike can learn and love this style.
- Solo: A hat is thrown on the floor, hence the name, (and unlike the group or pair dancing) and the dancer jumps around the hat while only touching the rim slightly with one foot. Hands are held in fists and placed at the side of the body near the waist. Steps are performed in one direction and then the other, switching the foot which touched the hat previously. Much like the group/partner performance, the dancer will exclaim “olé” and a clap.
Contact Mariachi Alegre De Tucson for your next big party and when the Mexican Hat Dance is performed all guest will get excited to perform and watch this traditionally wonderfully fun dance. Who knows? Maybe some of our Mariachi members will grab you by the hand and teach you the dance personally. Embracing the Mexican culture and pride is only one way to make a party one to remember!