National Dance Like a Chicken Day on May 14th encourages everyone to dance like a chicken! This day entertains from start to finish with people flapping their arms and strutting chicken-like. Everyone has probably danced the “Chicken Dance” at least once in their lifetime. This silly fun song is popular at wedding dances, Oktoberfest, and other celebrations, too. The song gets people of all ages up and moving on the dance floor.
- Written in the 1950s by Werner Thomas, a Swiss accordionist, the Chicken Dance didn’t even make it to the United States until sometime in the 1970s.
- The Chicken Dance is associated with polkas or oom-pah-pah music. Originally written with the name Der Ententanz (The Duck Dance), rumors suggest the song was written as a drinking song for Oktoberfest. The song’s title later changed to Vogeltanz (The Bird Dance).
- Upon arriving in America in the 1970s, the song acquired choreography with repetitive beak, wing, and tail motions, as well as the new name, The Chicken Dance.
- The dance first came to the United States in 1981 during Oktoberfest celebrations in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A German band wanted to demonstrate the dance in costume for a local TV station, but a duck costume could not be located, so a chicken costume was used. Hence, chicken dance instead of duck dance.
- Cincinnati, Ohio, September 20, 2004 – At the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, Mötley Crüe singer/rock musician Vince Neil served as Grand Marshall at the World’s Largest Chicken Dance.
- Judson Laipply’s Evolution of Dance featured “The Chicken Dance.”
- November 13, 2009 – In support of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, CIHT-FM played “The Chicken Dance” continuously until they sold 389 tickets at $100 each for the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime. They played for over 3 hours straight.
- April 23, 2010 – Jake’s Restaurant in Byron Center, Michigan, hosted a fundraiser for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital that attempted the World’s Largest Chicken Dance record. The restaurant is the site of a giant plastic chicken sculpture.
- July 4, 2010 – Mandan, North Dakota established a new World Record for the Longest Chicken Dance at their annual Independence Day Parade and Street Festival.
The Mandan, ND “Chicken Dance” line covered twenty-four city blocks and was 1.627 miles long.
- More than 140 versions of the song have been recorded, selling a whopping 40 million copies worldwide.