One aspect of American culture that sets us apart from the rest of the world, and there are many, is our willingness to have fun in a don't-take-yourself-so-seriously vein. While the rest of the world does their formal dances at wedding receptions, bull and oyster roasts and Weltanschauung festivals, we can change the way we view the world, and the person standing next to us in it, by asking one simple question:
"Do you chicken dance?"
Well, do you?
Before the unfortunate injury that was to deny me the chance to ride in the saddle of a Derby winner, I was born and bred for this sort of dancing. I was once long and lean, with hands that could hold a sixpack each, and arms that went on 'til Tuesday. But I lost my boyish figure when I gave up the beer, subs and clam dip that were dietary staples of my bachelorhood in favor of green vegetables and lean meats, and there went my chances at Chicken Dance stardom.
You gotta admit, it's catchy! Click here to hear the music - which you have heard if you've been to a wedding in Baltimore in the last thirty years - and then click here to see some kids who really know how to Chicken Dance. The first video above was made by someone who dubbed Chicken Dance music onto a Lady GaGa/Beyonce video, so that's not the real dance. The second one shows lots of people snapping their beaks, flapping their wings, shaking their tail feathers and clapping their mitts in the time-honored fashion.
Feel free to print out the steps and take them to the next gathering you attend, so you can join in the barnyard fun:
1 - Make little beaks out of your hands and snap them open and closed four times
2 - Pull your arms back behind you and flap them like wings
3 - Stick out your J-Lo thang back behind you there and shake it, but don't break it, while knee-dipping a bit
4 - Stand up straight again and clap four times
5 - This brings you to the bridge in the song, so cross that bridge now that you've come to it by linking arms with your partner and do-si-do'ing around eight steps one way, then eight steps back
6 - Time to make beaks again, and then the song will get faster as it goes along, so step lively, please!
You can click on the YouTube and see people ranging from random wedding guests to Chad Ochocinco stepping on it for you. It's fun, and as Dick Cheney would tell you - he's a big fan! - it is not possible to keep a petulant sneer on your mug while doing this dance! Look at how happy Dick was in his younger days. >>>>>>
Should have kept on flapping those wings, Dick.