Name/Title: Jarabe Tapatio (Mexican Hat Dance) -- April 2010

Purpose of Event: To learn the dance often considered the national dance of Mexico. To learn words from the Spanish language and facts about the country of Mexico.

Suggested Grade Level: 5th-12th

Materials Needed: CD player, Jarabe Tapatio music.

Recommended music: There are several versions of Jarabe Tapatio music available on iTunes. The dance is choreographed to the first song on the iTunes list, and can be purchased for $0.99.

Beginning dance formation: The class needs to be organized in pairs with one person designated as the lead and one as the follow.

Description of Idea

El Jarabe Tapatio is one of the most beloved dances performed in Mexico. It originated in the state of Jalisco and is a courting dance. The steps below vary somewhat from the authentic dance. However, the style and emotion of the dance remain the same.

Hold during the introduction:
The L arm is placed under the R elbow. The R arm is in the “waving” position. The R hand moves forward, back and forward as the R heel is forward, back and forward. Two claps follow these movements. This arm position is reversed when the foot movements are reversed.

Step 1 – Counts 1-8 - Place R heel to front (1), hopping onto R foot, place L heel in front (2), hopping on L foot place R heel in front (3) - 2 claps (&4). Hopping on R foot place the L heel forward (5), hopping on L place R heel forward (6), hopping on R foot place the L heel forward (7) – 2 claps (&8).
* Repeat this 8 count combination 4x for a total of 32 counts.

Step 2 – Dancers will move in a circle to the R doing the following movements:
Counts 1-8 - Step-together-step (RLR, 1&2)), Step-together-step (LRL, 3&4)), Step-together-step (RLR, 5&6)), Step together-step (LRL, 7&8).
* Repeat the 8 count 2x for a total of 16 counts. The dancers can make 2 circles or 1.

* Repeat Step 1 - 2x for 16 counts.

* Repeat Step 2 – 2x for a total of 16 counts.

Music will change:
Step 3 – Both partners will slide R and stomp LR, slide to the L and stomp RL.
* Repeat step 3 for a total of 6 times.

Music will change:
Step 4 – Both partners will step R, cross L behind, step R. Three-step turn to the L stepping LRL. * Repeat for a total of 4 times.

Music will change:
Step 5 – Partners will move towards one another bringing R shoulders together, stepping RLR and snapping on the 3rd step. Partners will move apart stepping LRL and snapping on the 3rd step.
* The dancers will repeat this step for a total of 4x.

Music will change: (24 counts)
One dancer will run in place while the other partner gets the Mexican Hat (sombrero) and places it on the ground. Dancers will dance around the hat.

The Running Square – Dancers will run forward 4 counts and pass R shoulders and run in place for 4 counts. They will each do 4 running steps to the R and run in place 4 counts. They will run backwards 4 counts and run in place 4 counts, and to the L 4 counts to get back where they started and run in place 4 counts.

The follow will squat down and the lead will kick over the head of the follow.

The follow will pick up the hat and the following steps will end the dance:

Partners will run forward 8 steps and back 8 steps.

Kick step – Place R heel in front, touch R toe to the ground, bring R foot across the L shin, and kick R. Hop onto R foot and place L heel forward, touch L toe to the ground, bring L foot across R shin and kick L.
* Repeat the Kick Step. * Repeat the 8 forward runs and 8 backward runs.

Dancers will choose a pose as the music ends.

Video (Takes you to YouTube)


Runs can be substituted for step 2 in order to make the dance easier to perform. Ask students to add the word “ole” (an exclamation of joy in the Spanish language) to the claps on step 1.

Assessment Ideas:

This dance is a lively dance that will raise the heart rate. Ask students to take a heart rate before the dance and after the dance. Talk about the benefits of dance on the cardio-respiratory system.

Teaching Suggestions:

Anticipatory Set: Mexico is the United States’ closest neighbor to the south. A map of the country can be seen below. The weather of Mexico varies from place to place. Mexico City, the capital of Mexico and one of the largest cities in the world, has spring-like weather throughout the year. It is home to the Mexican government and is Mexico's political center.

Costuming for the dance: Men sometimes wear an ornate cowboy suit called a charro and a Mexican hat called a sombrero. Women often wear a fringed blouse, flowing skirt and a shawl.

Challenge students to learn the following Spanish phrases:

My name is… Mi nombre is
Good morning: Buenos dias
Hello: Hola
What is your name?: Cual es tu nombre?

Submitted by Brenda Goodwin who teaches at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 5/3/2017.
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