National Dance Like a Chicken Day
It’s something we’ve all seen, and it’s usually done in an intoxicant-driven stupor. To make wings, you tuck your arms into your armpits and then you dance like an idiot to some very unfortunate music. You have total giggle fits with your friends, and the local sanitarium is swooning at you as you act in such a way that you are eligible for membership.
What is it we are referring to? Of course, the Chicken Dance! National Dance Like a Chicken Day celebrates this dance’s origins and gives you the chance to find out WHY anyone would do such a horrible, terrible thing.
“Der Ententanz”, was the name of all this. The song is now called The Duck Dance, but the dance itself is still called The Chicken Dance. It was originally called “Der Ententanz”, but it has since been called many other names. It’s been called everything, from The Little Bird Dance to De Vogeltjesdans (or “The dance for the little birds”).
This episode took place in the 1950s and was unknown to anyone outside the band or Switzerland. Louis Julien van Rijmenant, a Dutch music producer, overheard Werner Thomas performing the song in a hotel in 1970s. He was intrigued by the song’s unusual nature and wanted to be part of its story.
Thomas was then helped by the music producer. Actually, the Duck Dance version was actually the B side of a single by “De Electronica”s. They decided to flip the A-Side because it wasn’t getting much attention from radio station listeners. It was history at that moment. It soared to the top of the Dutch charts, and stayed there for almost a year. Its popularity has exploded to the point that there have been 140 versions and over 40,000,000 records of it.
The dance brought Oktoberfest to the United States in 1981. Due to a lack of duck costumes near the event, the organizers had to settle with chicken costumes. This is how it got its name. Every year, the song responsible receives new covers. New lyrics are added every year. That’s right, there’s lyrics. You’re welcome.
The charm of the chicken dance did not end there. It was eventually used in pop culture and even on the playgrounds of schools, which explains its appeal.
Since its inception, the chicken dance has been associated with humorous music. The Emeralds from Edmonton, Canada came up with a song in 1982 that perfectly combines the chicken dance and polka-style music. It’s the one that goes “oompa-pa oom-pa -pa”. The rhythm matched the natural movements and added comedy to an already hilarious sketch.
The song was so popular that the Emeralds eventually earned two gold-selling albums, in 1983 and 1984. Bird Dance, the song, was double-platinum. The song’s unique sound was a hit with the movie industry, which featured it in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Crime Wave, a John Paizs classic.
The chicken dance has been a cultural icon since these memorable moments. It’s funny and has inspired thousands to make the chicken dance a regular part of their lives. For example, in 1994, 48,000 people came together to celebrate the dance. This was the largest known gathering of people to ever perform the dance.
The chicken dance was popularized by the media after this incident. Major newspapers started to make mention of it, such as the Wall Street Journal. This was not a peculiarity that only polka-loving people found, but something everyone wanted to be part of.
What inspired Thomas to write the tune? Why did he come up with this crazy idea?
Thomas grew up near many ski resorts. Thomas would often watch the skiers and snowboarders gliding down the slopes as a child. This was even back in the 1950s. Thomas said that the people who were going down the slope looked exactly like birds. Their arms extended outwards, their elbows were in the air, keeping their skis near their bodies. Although their technique was sound, Thomas couldn’t help but notice how funny it was to watch. A bunch of wealthy and earnest people were out on the snow merrily like ducks. He couldn’t miss this chance.
Thomas’ interpretation of their movements was influenced a lot by his own experience. Thomas thought they looked more like chickens than ducks. The ducks look a lot like skiers when they stand straight up and spread their wings.
Do we need to say more? It’s the best way to celebrate National Dance Like a Chicken Day. Get out there and do the Chicken Dance. It’s very simple. You start by making a beak using your hands and then’squawking’ them four times with the music. Next, you make wings and then flap them four more times with the music. You know what else? You can watch this video: How to Chicken Dance.