email this idea to a friend Export to pdf Export to doc

Name of Activity:

Jarabe Tapatio (Mexican Hat Dance) -- April 2010

Purpose of Activity:

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:


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.
Viewed 117508 times since 4/1/2010.

| More

Jarabe Tapatio (Mexican Hat Dance) -- April 2010

Post a Comment:

Let others know how this idea went when you implemented/tried it with your kids. Include any variations, suggested teaching tips, positive comments, etc. so others can benefit from your tips. Please be helpful and positive with all comments. Look below to see all posted comments.



Previous Comments:


i am looking form the formatoin of the dance

Mark Manross

I uploaded to YouTube to make it available so no browser should have a problem. Let me know if that works. Thanks. Mark

Mark Manross

We are having trouble getting the video to play in Safari but it works in Firefox and should work in Chrome browser so switch to those. If they don't work at first hit refresh and that should do it. Our apologies for the inconvenience. Let us know if this works for you Shannon. Mark

Shannon SF

What happened to the video? I have used this video for the past six years to teach this version of the Jarabe Tapatio to my K-8 Spanish classes. Now it's not there.:(


OH MY GOD... thank you so much for this.
Its so simple and clear to understand. Once I get the steps down then I can add the high stepping and stomping that I have always wanted to do. Thanks again.

Erika G

In Jarabe tapatío the J is pronounced like the H in "ha". It is not really like the authentic dance so after you do the lesson you can show your students a video of how it really is done so they won't be confused. Great idea though.


I want to try this dance in P.E. this year in May to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I hope it won't be taken it off the web until after May.




I am Mexican and this is nothing like the original Jarabe Tapatio. There is no clapping and snapping. You had some nice ideas though.


Thank you Brenda for such a great presentation. I have used this video several time to teach my middle and high school classes this dance. Next week my high schoolers will be using this video to help teach our 3-5 graders the dance.


Hello! I am an Arts Education student from the University of Regina, in Saskatchewan, Canada. I am thrilled to have stumbled upon this explanation of the Jarabe Tapatio dance. I am putting together a collection of lesson plans and would like to use this idea. Thank you for your excellent instructions. They are very clear and helpful!

Michael Sorrells

"Me llamo...Brenda/Cindy/Mike/Paul" sounds more natural than "mi nombre es".


"Como te llama Ud?" sounds more natural than "Cual es tu nombre".

I think your lesson plan idea is GREAT though!!! Muchas gracias for posting it. :)

Search for lesson ideas