May 14 – National Dance Like a Chicken Day

Posted on May 14, 2014

The Chicken Dance” is popular at weddings and family gatherings all over the Western world, but it started out as “The Duck Dance” (Der Ententanz) in Switzerland. 

It's an “oom-pah” song, which means that rhythm is provided by brass instruments, and it is associated with German music and the polka. It was composed on and for the accordion.

The song part of the Chicken Dance goes by a lot of names, most of which have the word “bird,” or the name of a bird, plus the word “dance,” and of course the various names are translated into a lot of different languages. One common name is “Birdie Dance.”

The song was composed by Werner Thomas in the 1950s. In the 1970s it was recorded for the first time; by now there have been 140 different versions recorded, and more than 40,000,000 records sold!

Enough about the song. It's catchy and all – but what about the dance???

The beak-beak, wing-wing, tail-feather-shake, clap-clap-clap-clap dance is probably popular because it is silly—it gives us a chance to laugh at ourselves and others. Who DOESN'T want to watch Uncle Felix wiggle his tail feathers, or Grandma Mary flap her wings? And it's simple to do, too.

Do you chicken dance? Try it with these kids. (Be sure to go all the way to the end, when the music and dancing speeds up!) 

George Takei, who played Sulu on the
original Star Trek, led the world's largest
Chicken Dane in 2013.
Important note: The parts in between the birdie parts are for swinging around. You can link elbow with another and swing that way, or you can grab hands and lean back as you whirl around. You can circle with three or more, too! If you want or need to, you can turn around on your own – or you can just freestyle without turning! There is only one rule: have fun!

Now, mind you, REAL chickens don't do this silly chicken dance. If you want to see how real chickens dance, go to The Art of Doing Stuff

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