May 14th Is National Dance Like A Chicken DayMay 3rd, 2012 by Craig Mullins
This holiday is for a special group of people – those who love to do the Chicken Dance!
There seems to be no rhyme or reason that I can find as to why National Dance Like A Chicken Day is on May 14th. But does it really matter? It’s a day to dance like a chicken! Live it up!!
The “Chicken Dance” is an oom-pah song, originally composed in the 1950s by accordion player Werner Thomas, from Davos, Switzerland.
Chicken Dance Song Historical Facts:
- The name of the original Swiss song was “Der Ententanz”, which meant The Duck Dance.
- Sometime in the 1970s, the song became known as “Vogeltanz”, which means The Bird Dance, or “Vogerltanz”, which means Little Bird Dance or Birdie Dance.
- Some sheet music and recordings call the music “Dance Little Bird.”
- Song creator Werner Thomas began playing the song in restaurants and hotels in 1963.
During one of Thomas’ performances, Belgian producer Louis van Rijmenant heard the song. Van Rijmenant had some lyrics created and in 1970 released it to the public, without much success. However, on subsequent releases of the song, Van Rijmenant was listed as co-author under the pen name of Terry Rendall. [source]
- In 1981 the song finally made its way to the United States, during the Oktoberfest celebration in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Heilbronn Band from Germany was set to perform their country’s classic and wanted to demonstrate the dance in costume, but they couldn’t find a duck costume anywhere in Tulsa. There was, however, a chicken costume at the local television station that was available. The costume was donated for use at the festival, thus creating the American “Chicken Dance” sensation.
- In 1982, the polka-loving cover band “The Emeralds” of Edmonton Alberta Canada, made a recording of a polka infused version of the song. Their album “Bird Dance” went double-platinum in Canada and gold in Australia.
- The song garnered further attention after its use in the movies Crime Wave and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
Notable Chicken Dance Moments:
- The Chicken Dance is featured in Judson Laipply’s Evolution of Dance.
- On September 20, 2004, rock musician Vince Neil served as the Grand Marshall of the World’s Largest Chicken Dance during the Cincinnati Oktoberfest. According to VH1’s 40 Least Metal Moments, Neil performance at the festival is the single least metal moment in Heavy Metal history.
- On November 13, 2009, radio station CIHT-FM played the Chicken Dance song continuously until 389 tickets for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s Dream of a Lifetime event were purchased at a $100 each. The song was played for over 3 hours.
- On April 23, 2010 in Bryon Center, Michigan, an attempt at achieving the world’s largest chicken dance was held during a fund raiser for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital at Jake’s restaurants – the site of a giant plastic chicken sculpture.
- On September 13, 2010, two people from Switzerland began a Chicken Dance Tour across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Happy National Dance Like A Chicken Day!!
Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!