Cinco de Mayo and Mexico Learning

Originally shared at as part of the Music and Movement Series.

One of the things that I love about being a musician and a dancer is that it brings me full circle in what I am learning about. It's one thing to read about a place in a book. But if you really want to get to know a people you've got to listen to their music and language and watch (and try!) the movements of their people's dance. That's where you will find a true reflection of a people's traditions and culture.

I hope that you will enjoy traveling around the world-in the comfort of your own home-to learn about cultures as well as the joy of music and movement and dance with your children and students!

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, today we will be learning about the music and movement in MEXICO!

Mexican dance is done in character shoes (shoe with a heel) for girls, and a cowboy boot for boys.

To get started, watch this video that shoes some of the different styles of Mexican Dance:

In this clip you will learn about the costume that the women wear when they dance.  You can also see the character shoes:

This lets you see some of the dancing up close!  The dance is "percussive" which means that the shoes are not just for dancing in.  They are also to make sounds with.
  You might like to try making sounds with your feet too!

Mariachi music is the style of music that we often think of when we hear Mexican music.
The word mariachi refers to the musicians now commonly seen in restaurants or strolling the streets, dressed in silver studded charro outfits with wide brimmed hats playing a variety of instruments which include violins, guitars, basses, vihuelas (a 5 string guitar) and trumpets.

This is a song we often hear in Spanish, the language spoken in much of Mexico with the mariachi style of music.

Mariachi songs speak about machismo, love, betrayal, death, politics, revolutionary heroes and even animals (one particularly famous song is "La Cucaracha").

Mexican dance is also for boys!

Now YOU Try!

Some things you really have to try to appreciate or understand them.

These activities will help you do that!

La Cucaracha song with the words in Spanish.  Try singing along!

Here is a child dancing with her skirt.  Try dancing like her!

Have you heard of the Mexican Hat Dance?  Try dancing it along with these children!

Make your own maracas 
out of your left over plastic eggs from Easter with the instructions: HERE

Link to Mexican flag coloring page: HERE
Coloring page flag Mexico

Link to coloring page of mariachi players: HERE
Coloring page Mexican musicians

Try making music with
  Mexican musical instruments with the game HERE

Now you will be all ready for Cinco de Mayo!

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