The May 14 is dedicated to the US national National Dance Like a Chicken Day a very popular dance. This article explains why this event deserves a permanent place in the calendar of curious holidays from all over the world and how the connection between ducks and chickens in the different languages is to be understood.
Who started the National Dance Like a Chicken Day?
Unfortunately, in the case of the National Chicken Dance Day, too, the almost obligatory statement must be made that it is completely unclear who brought it into being, since when it will be celebrated in the United States and why its inventor (s) decided for that Date of today’s May 14th.
Whether it is something with the day of hiking in Germany , which is also celebrated today , the Underground American Day , the day of the yellow roses celebrated in South Korea (English. Yellow Day – Korean. 로즈 데이) or the day of the buttermilk biscuits (English National Buttermilk Biscuit Day), I could not find out in the course of research.
At this point, however, we can state that this curious dance day, due to its thematic proximity, makes an excellent addition to the list of similar occasions. As an example, reference is made to the following dates:
- The International Dance Day (International Dance Day) on April 29,
- the International Lindy Hop Day (World Lindy Hop Day) on May 26th or
- the day of the Square Dance (National Square Dance Day) on 29 November.
The duck dance – the choreographic interpretation of a bird
In contrast, the facts regarding the origins of the duck dance look much better. Two aspects have to be emphasized: on the one hand the melody and on the other hand the actual dance. Let’s start the dance at this point.
While this party dance is known in German-speaking countries as a duck dance or bird dance , it is popular in the Anglo-Saxon-speaking area under the name The Chicken Dance or The Birdie Song. In the course of my research, however, I was unable to find out how these different names came about. But other countries, other customs and linguistic connotations, in that respect it fits.
We can also state that the dance does not work without the appropriate melody and is therefore to be seen more as a fixed choreography. This consists primarily of dance figures in which different body parts rhythmically imitate the movements of a duck or a chicken (depending on the language area). While the drawn arms imitate the rhythmic flapping of the wings with the elbows, the compressed knees – similar to the twist – perform a kind of squat, in which the hips are moved in time with the rhythm. This sequence of movements is then completed by clapping hands four times.
Werner Thomas and the song Chip Chip – the melody of the duck dance
As already mentioned at the beginning, the dance is actually unthinkable without the appropriate melody. While other dances here can fall back on the entire range of musical genres (waltz, rock’n’roll, bossa nova, tango, etc.), the duck dance is strictly speaking tied to a melody or a song.
This was written in 1957 by the Swiss music teacher and composer Werner Thomas (* approx. 1931) under the title Chip chip on an accordion, who has since performed it as solo entertainer in pubs and festival tents. In this context, Thomas also proclaims the invention of dance and mentions the year 1963 here.
The piece only became internationally known in 1973 when Thomas was discovered by the Belgian music producer Louis Julien van Rijmenant in Davos’ Sunstar Park, rather by chance. The Belgian had Thomas write down the notes for him and in the same year released the single Tchip Tchip / Who Needs Money? As Cash & Carry under the pseudonym Terry Rendall ? On his label Eurovox Music (sub-label Cannon Records # 3035). And with great success, because the record sold over 100,000 times and later received a gold record.
It is estimated that around 370 cover versions of the song were released in 42 countries around the world and sold a total of 40 million units. For the original composer Werner Thomas, a million-dollar hit, so to speak.
In this sense: Have a great National Dance Like a Chicken Day to all of you.