Rachel Hintz
May 14, 2014 7:00 am

May 14th is Dance Like a Chicken Day!

Why Celebrate?

Do chickens dance? I’ve never seen it, but then again, I don’t really make it a habit to hang out with chickens, so I can’t speak to what they do in their free time. I can speculate, however, that if they did dance, they would certainly do the Chicken Dance. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that dance that’s so contagious. That dance that you’ve done at childhood birthday parties, roller rinks, and weddings alike. It is the universal “I’m having so much fun that I am now pretending to dance like a chicken because life is awesome and I just don’t care” dance. As you are reading this, I can bet that you are humming the song in your head, if not already starting to wave your elbows up and down in anticipation. Today is the day to embrace your wacky side and have a good ol’ time, remembering that life is so sweet, and sometimes so silly.

But to who do we owe our gratitude for this wonderful dance? The Swiss, of course. The catchy song, also known as the “Birdie Song,” is an oom-pah song (referring to the rhythmical sound of a deep brass instrument) that was composed by Werner Thomas, an accordion player, in the 1950s. Thanks, Werner!

How to Celebrate

Watch this instructional video from the Lawrence Welk Show. If you don’t learn how to properly do “one of the most popular dances in America,” you’ll at least get a good laugh.

I also found this set of helpful steps, in case you are less of a visual learner (and I have inserted my commentary for extra help):

  1. At the start of the music, shape a chicken beak with your hands. Open and close them four times, during the first four beats of the music. Simple enough.
  2. Make chicken wings with your arms. Flap your wings four times, during the next four beats of the music. Lots of fours. Are you seeing a pattern?
  3. Make a chicken’s tail feathers with your arms and hands. Wiggle downwards during the next four beats of the music. I never knew the tail feathers part. I’ve been doing it wrong ALL THESE YEARS.
  4. Clap four times during the next four beats of the music while rising to your feet. This is actually kind of like exercise. Feel the burn.
  5. Repeat this process four times. If you keep going here, you will awkwardly be the only one with chicken beak hands, and nobody likes that.
  6. At the bridge, hold your arms straight, in imitation of an aeroplane. All dancers spin around the room in “flight” until the bridge ends. (Alternatively: At the bridge, link arms with the nearest person, turn right eight steps, switch arms and turn left eight steps, then repeat until the bridge ends.) (Yet another alternative: Assume close position with partner and polka until bridge ends.) So many choices, you are guaranteed to find your own personal dancing style will fit within one of these three options.
  7. The dance repeats, progressively getting faster and faster, until the music stops. For some reason this always caused me anxiety when I was young.

Video of the Day

Check out Jess and the gang as they Chicken Dance like nobody’s business.

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