Age range: Good for 11-18 year olds
Estimated Time: Give yourself some time! This interactive takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Key Technology: Teachers can choose to stream this video on a computer and project it onto a screen or whiteboard with speakers or to let students watch individually on computers with headphones.
This interactive explores the music, movement and costumes of four traditional Mexican dances.
Viewing Strategy: As you watch, stay focused on your purpose for viewing. Find out what these dances have in common and what differentiates them from one another.
Before you get started, think of what you already know about Mexico and Mexican culture. In what ways is the Pacific Coast of Mexico different from the East Coast of Mexico in terms of geography and culture? Keep this in mind as you explore the interactive.
As you watch, compare and contrast the ways in which the dancers tell their story.
- What kinds of props are used in each dance? How are they important?
- What instruments are played to accompany each dance?
- Describe the costumes worn by the dancers for each performance. What significance do you think they have?
- Compare and contrast these four dances.
- What is the same about them and what is different about them? Consider the music, movement and rhythm.
- What do these dances remind you of and why?
Do you think each dance was trying to tell a story? If so, what about? What clues did you pick up on to determine this?
For the Educator
Have students research the significance of each of the dances. Pay close attention to the Mexican Hat Dance and the Dance of the Ancients. Find out:
- The cultural significance of each of these dances
- The significance of the costumes worn in each dance
- The story being told by each dance
Learn about the music that accompanies each of the dances.
- What instruments are played?
- Do the different instruments serve as “voices” while the story is being told?
- Are there any modern adaptations of the music or have the melodies and rhythms remained traditional in nature?
Learn about the cultural events and occasions at which these dances are performed.
- Do specific members of the family or community perform these dances at certain times of the year?
- When are these dances performed?
- What other dances not shown here are performed and what is their significance?
These performances show four different traditional Mexican dances and are an excellent opportunity to learn about Mexican culture and history.
This interactive lends itself to large-group or individual listening as well as to both individual and group research.
These performances can support and enhance a number of different curricular objectives.
- Dance teachers can teach students one or more of the dances viewed while allowing students to compare and contrast the dances of Mexico with those of other countries..
- Spanish teachers can teach students one or more of the dances while helping students to learn about the stories inherent in them..
- Music teachers can teach students about the rhythm and instruments used to play the accompanying music..
- ELL teachers can use these dances to help students find similarities among the traditions of different cultures.
- Social studies teachers can show these performances to enhance a study of the Americas and their cultural traditions.