The 6 Most Popular Tlaxcala Typical Dances And Dances

The typical dances and dances of Tlaxcala  originated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, thanks to a mixture of pre-Hispanic, European and African cultures. They are based on rhythms such as syrup and son, and are still practiced on state holidays.

Many dances are shared by other states of Mexico, although Tlaxcala also has some dances that are unique to this region.

Many of the typical dances of the region represent different scenes of daily life.
There are also dances with religious symbolism, such as those used to ask the gods for fertility or to represent stories from pre-Hispanic mythology.

Today, dancing is one of the most important cultural activities in the State of Tlaxcala. Usually the dances are performed on designated dates, such as the well-known Carnival.

The most important dances of Tlaxcala

1- Moors and Christians

One of the few dances of totally non-indigenous origin is the dance of Moors and Christians. 
Originating in the Spanish religious tradition, this dance was introduced to the country by the first monks who came from Europe.

It is usually part of a much larger festival that includes other cultural elements, such as mock battles or tournaments. 
All the dance participants wear traditional Moorish or Christian clothes, with masks that symbolize the side to which they belong.

The Moors and Christians dances are an essential part of the patron saint festivities of certain municipalities. They are usually accompanied by band music.

The artists of this dance are known as “comparsas”. There is a troupe for each of the sides.

2- Catrines

The catrines are originally from several cities in the state of Tlaxcala, among these Santa Cruz, San Bernardino and San Miguel Contla.

This dance has a marked French influence, especially visible in the clothing worn by the dancers. Traditional clothing includes a top hat and a frock coat.

The dancers also wear a mask with which they cover their faces, as well as a typical scarf and an umbrella that they open during the dance.

3- The tapes

It is a dance originating in the cities of San Juan Totolac and Santa Ana Chiautempán.

The rhythms that accompany it are based on dances such as the polka, although this dance is one of the few that has not undergone any alteration since the 18th century.

The predominant characteristic of this dance is the large wood that is located in the center of the dance.
From this pole arise colored ribbons that the dancers are entangling and unraveling as they rotate around the stage.

4- The crews

This dance is one of the best known of all traditional Mexican dances. Originating in the city of San Juan Totolac, it continues to be one of the main carnival attractions in this town.

The men wear traditional costumes with large feather headdresses and multi-colored fabrics.
The women, on the other hand, wear a white dress with a shawl also of different colors.

The rhythm of the music is very fast, and the dancers usually dance both in groups and in pairs.

5- The knives

This dance is distinguished above all by the prohibition of being practiced by women, so that both male and female characters are represented by men.

The dancers’ clothing consists of black ankle boots, a colored striped skirt, a colored shirt and a black suit jacket.

They also wear hats and masks, as well as the knives that give the dance its name, tied at the ankles.

6- Dance of the snake

Typical dance of the Papalotla Carnival in which a couple of huehues use cuartas (a kind of whips) to thunder them on the buttocks of their companion. All this to the rhythm gives a music of different tones and different speed.

It should be noted that in municipalities such as Papalotla and Tepeyanco this dance is wrapped in a certain mysterious legend linked to ancestral divinities.


  1. “10 Traditional Mexican Dances You Should Know About” in: The Culture Trip. Retrieved on November 16, 2017, from The Culture Trip:
  2. “Culture of Tlaxcala” in: Exploring Mexico. Retrieved on November 16, 2017, from Exploring México:
  3. “Tlaxcala, its dances and parties” in: Unknown Mexico. Retrieved on November 16, 2017, from Unknown Mexico:
  4. “Carnival and Tlaxcalteca Dances” in: Tlaxcala and its Gastronomy. Retrieved on November 16, 2017, from Tlaxcala and its Gastronomy:
  5. “Carnival of Tlaxcala” in: Wikipedia. Retrieved on November 16, 2017, from Wikipedia:

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