International Dance Council

Official Partner of UNESCO


In Mexico we find plenty of sacred dances , draftly belonging in three groups :

– Authentic pre-hispanic dances

– Synchretic dances : mixture of christian and pre-hispanic

– Folklore Dances with pre-hispanic characteristics

Dr Patricia Elizabeth Torres Villanueva is Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Anthropological Investigation, A.C. Huei Tlahtolli in Mexico. Her research concerns ancestral Mexican and Mesoamerican ritual dances and she will contribute to a collection of them

In the meantime please have a look at
1 In the Online Seminar of  June 3 2023 “TLALMANALI : Pre-Hispanic Sacred Dances”

2 In our Website ‘s Section Middle American Dances  

List Of Dances



The triple teams of pascolas, or wooden-masked clown dancers descend from prehistoric clown-shamans.

The Dance of the Pascolas and the Deer is a ritual that has been practiced for over 300 years as a call for rain to the gods, and is studied by specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), who are currently working on the creation of a file in order to include this practice on the Tentative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

AUTHOR : Arizona State Museum

Reference : What is a Pascola?  “Read”



Region: North

Ethnic group: Mayas


Huichol Dance of the Deer Credit : Dance of the Deer Foundation
Peyote (danced by  Huichols)

 The peyote (hikuli) dance, held in November, follows Huichol and Tarahumara pilgrimages . The dance of the Huichol is the more ecstatic. After consuming the trance-inducing peyote, men and women move in a counterclockwise progression, leaping jerkily and twisting their bodies.

One most important  Huichol ceremony is the “Dance of the Deer.”  People  dance their prayers into the altar of Mother Earth and  connect with the Deer Spirit, a very important Huichol animal power. The deer is seen as an elder brother, a guide, which the shamans use to navigate the spirit realm and also for healing. In the Huichol mythology, the gods and goddesses taught the deer in ancient times. It was the first student  to learn the secrets of the original shaman, Grandfather Fire.

AUTHOR : Dance of the Deer Foundation

Reference : The mission of the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies “Read”



Region: CenterWest

Ethnic group: Huichols


Danza de los Voladores

The  Dance of the Flyers is an ancient Mesoamerican ceremony/ritual still performed today, albeit in modified form, in isolated pockets in Mexico. It is believed to have originated with the peoples in central Mexico, and then spread throughout most of Mesoamerica. The ritual consists of dance and the climbing of a 30-meter pole from which four of the five participants then launch themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground. The fifth remains on top of the pole, dancing and playing a flute and drum. According to one myth, the ritual was created to ask the gods to end a severe drought. The ceremony was named an Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.


Reference : Unesco’s Website  “Read”


Region: Center

Ethnic group: Nahua, Huastec and Otomi

It is believed to have originated with the peoples in central Mexico, and then spread throughout most of Mesoamerica