Mariachi Music and Folklorico

Mariachi music has been getting people on their feet to dance for many years. Just as mariachi music and lyrics have great significance, a part of the Mexican heritage can also be interpreted through dance.

Folklorico dance has grown more popular through the years much like mariachi music has.

The words of a ballad can be expressed so vividly through dance and the stories that go along with rancheras can be put to reenactments, showing the intensity that the singer does in his or her singing.

Considering that Mexico is such a big country, each state has its own past of both conflict and triumph. This would only mean that each state has its own experiences to share artistically.

In this article you will learn about Jalisco, Michoacan and Veracruz, three different states of Mexico that are known for their interpretations of folklorico dance and music.


Jalisco is where mariachi music first started. For this reason, the music style of Jalisco is the most recognized all around the world.

El Jarabe Tapatio, known as the “Mexican Hat Dance”, is the most famous of folklorico dances and is to many the national dance of Mexico.

Jarabe Tapatio dancers

Jarabe Tapatio dancers

This dance is one of courtship where throughout the dance the male and female dancers are flirting and in the end the female gives in for a kiss behind a fan she is holding.

The male dancer is dressed in traditional charro and the female dancer is in a long dress with tiers with colorful ribbon.

During the dance the female uses her dress to attract viewers to a whirlwind of playful color. This is a unique characteristic from Jalisco folklorico dance and is most popular at happy occasions.


Michoacan is mostly populated by indigenous people. Their style of clothing is much more humble than what is customary in Jalisco or other regions but not shy of color.

Michoacan is known for its comical appeal to folklorico dance.

In the dance that was made famous in Michoacan, Danza de los Viejitos, or in English Dance of the Old Men, the purpose is to mock the Europeans that came to explore their land.

Dancers performing Danza de los Viejitos

Dancers performing Danza de los Viejitos

This dance is carried out by all men that wear masks depicting an old, pink skinned man with white hair.

They wear white pants and shirts with a pancho on their shoulders while dancing hunched over like old men with a cane.

The steps are quick and difficult considering their knees must be bent the whole time. While they are disguised as old men, they do not move that way, which is why this dance is so amusing to the audience.

This dance is usually performed for Dia de los Muertos. Its music starts off slow and get faster through the performance.

The mariachi music for this dance is in the faint background. It is the dancers feet tapping that are the heart of this performance.


Veracruz is a region greatly influenced by Spanish, Caribbean and African music and dance. Spanish and slaves from Africa arrived here in 1519.

The music of Veracruz is full of Huapangos and Son Jarochos.

The mariachi instruments that are essential for Veracruz music is the harp, vihuela and violin which produce the high pitched sound needed for songs like “La Bamba” which is called the state’s anthem.

For his particular dance, the male and female dancer work together to make a bow with a long ribbon using only their feet.

Dancing to a Son Jarocho and making a bow

Dancing to a Son Jarocho and making a bow

This is all done while dancing to the music and getting the crowd involved with every step towards making the bow.

The style of dress is like that of the state of Jalisco in fullness, but it is white with lace accents. They also have a black apron-like wrap that is designed with embroidery at their waist.

The male wears white pants and a guayabera shirt with a straw hat and red neck sash as accessories.

Veracruz is proud to have been the port used by the Spanish to enter Mexico. It is what has made this state what it is today.


These states each have a history they can be proud of and they show it both in music and folklorico dance.

It is impressive to see how each have carried out a different influence from their past.

  • Jalisco is the most popular style of mariachi music and dance which are from the days of the Mexican Revolution.
  • Michoacan is special for its tribute to their indigenous background and culture. They are true to their roots and light-hearted in expressing it in their dances.
  • Veracruz has been long influenced by the visitors and the diverse populations that have travelled though their port.

Each has contributed to the style we see in that state today. Mexico has many other states and not one is the same artistically, but they all continue to be true to their Mexican heritage through music and folklorico dance.


Image credits:

Ballet Folklorico de Mexico | Alan English | Jorge Morales |CulturaColectiva

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