How To Do the 'Chicken Dance'

This group dance is fun and easy

Chicken dance
Tracy Wicklund

Ready to have some fun at your next dance party? Several group dances, including the "Chicken Dance," are favorites among DJs, so make sure you know all the steps.

The "Chicken Dance" is frequently a party favorite. No matter your dance skill level, you can learn how to do the chicken dance. All you need is the willingness to allow yourself to look a little silly.

Difficulty: Easy

Time required: A few minutes

Here's how:

  1. When you hear the beginning of the "Chicken Dance" song, run to the dance floor and join the forming circle. Sometimes the dance is also done in a line or simply in an unorganized crowd.
  2. Hold your arms up in front of you, forming beaks with your thumbs and fingers. Open and close your "beaks" four times to the music.
  3. Put your thumbs in your armpits and flap your elbows (like they are wings) four times to the music.
  4. Bend your knees and wiggle your hips four times to the music, placing your arms and hands low like the tail feathers of a chicken.
  5. Straighten your knees and clap four times, with the music.
  6. Repeat steps two through five four times.
  7. Join hands with the person on each side of you and skip around in a circle to the music, reversing the direction of the circle once.
  8. Repeat the entire sequence until the end of the song.

What you need:

  • "Chicken Dance" music
  • A group of fun-loving people

More About the "Chicken Dance"

The “Chicken Dance” was first written by Swiss accordion player Werner Thomas in the ‘50s. As the stories go, it was originally written and sung as a drinking song at Oktoberfest. 

Also known as The "Chicken Dance" has had many names (and incarnations) over the years. It has also been known as “The Birdie Song,” “The Chicken Song,” "Dance Little Bird," "Vogeltanz" (The Bird Dance), "Vogerltanz" (Little Bird Dance or Birdie Dance), "De Vogeltjesdans" (The Dance of the Little Birds) and "Der Ententanz" (The Duck Dance). In fact, the latter was the song's original name. 

So next time you are doing the "Chicken Dance" at a wedding, know that you're really, historically speaking, dancing like a duck.