Flying Men Dance

The Flying Men Dance ( Spanish: Danza del Volador) is a very unusual ceremonial dance practiced in Tulum, Mexico. 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.

Historical background

In Maya mythology the creation of the world is associated with a mythical bird deity (Itzamna) residing at the World Tree (the center of the world). Five "birdmen" at the top of a pole represent bird deities. The main dancer stands in the center and plays a flute, which represents the sound of birds singing. The four other "birdmen" (representing the four directions) spin around the pole to represent the recreation of the world (and the regeneration of life).

Christmas celebration

In Guatemala the flying pole dance is celebrated as the Feast of St. Thomas on December 21 as a Christmas season celebration.

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