Flying Men dance

This post is part of my Mexico travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery

Photo essay: Flying men dance

On Sunday, Mexico city generously throws its museums open to the public and they get pretty crowded. According to some estimates, Mexico city has the largest number of museums in the world. Outside the National museum of Antrhopology in the beautiful Chapultepec park and near the Chapultepec castle, there is a massive pole and an arena where men perform the Flying men dance.

Checkout what this beautiful performance entails:


↑ Flying dancer preparing to start the ceremony


↑ Checking the integrity of the ropes. Their lives hang on it (literally)

Five men wearing traditional clothing climb for this dance up a pole which is usually 100 feet from the ground. One man climbs on the very top of the pole and plays drums and other musical instruments to make music. The other four fasten a rope around their place and spin around exactly 13 rotations. When the man in the middle start with the music, the other four men jump simultaneously and spiralize slowly down to the ground at their ropes. At this time they should be almost and ground level. (Wikipedia)


↑ Starting the ascent to the top.

↑ Climbing to the top takes a while… Dancers climbing to the top, one by one. Once at the top, they will fasten the rope to their leg.


↑ At the top of the pole: 4 dancers in 4 directions and the fifth one in the centre, playing music. You can see the rope wound around the pole – this rope will unwind and the dancers will reach the ground.

The flying men dance, called Danza del Volador or Palo Volador in Spanish, is a ceremonial dance practiced in various places within the Mesoamerican cultural region, including Tulum and Papantla in Mexico and Chichicastenango in Guatemala.


↑ weeeeeeeeeeee….!!


↑ Flying! Upside down


↑ The music is simple but rhythmic. The flying men dancers use the principle of conservation of momentum that I remembered from 7th grade. Their movements have to be synchronised so that the rope displaces equally and symmetrically.


↑ Touchdown. The dancers have to pull themselves to upright position, and they do it at the last moment; just before I thought – oh his head is going to bash on the ground…


↑ Unwinding the ropes and closing the ceremony

So, what did you think?

This post is part of my Mexico travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery