This dance is enjoyable to most people at wedding receptions because most people at wedding receptions are drunk off their asses. The chicken dancers consist of those people and the people who are somehow persuaded by the drunk people to join the dance. You can tell who is drunk and who is not by watching the faces of the dancers. Those who are completely drunk are having a genuinely good time. Those who were persuaded look as if they are staring into the headlights of an oncoming Mack truck with a really funny joke printed across the front grill.

It is a chance to act completely goofy and stupid for a little bit. It is a chance to act like a kid again. And you get to do this with out fear of being laughed at for doing it because there is a large group dancing with you. Lighten up. Take a deep breath and relax. Stop worrying about how bad the song sucks or if the bridesmaid that's been looking at you all night thinks your weird because you did the chicken dance. Laugh at your friends while all of you dance like dorks for a bit. Maybe that girl will be impressed with your self-confidence.

Of course what do I know I have friends that look forward to the chicken dance. And I like to act like a goofball.

Sometimes this is also called the duck dance, but maybe that is just my friends.

Linca tells me, "it might have to do with the fact that the French equivalent is called la danse des canards, whih translates to 'duck dance'"

A Chinese peasant dance I learned in Taiwan. It is done entirely with the feet (i.e. no hand movements or touching).

Two people face each other
Knock insides of right feet together
Knock insides of left feet together
Repeat once
Each person takes two steps to partner's right (left foot-right foot), turning so that you are back-to-back
Slap soles of left feet together behind you
Take three steps, crossing in front of partner, to partner's left (left foot-right foot-left foot)and turning so that you are again back-to-back
Slap soles of right feet together behind you
Take two steps back to face partner (right foot-left foot)

Do this over and over again, faster and faster, while drinking plum wine until you fall down silly.

I also know the above described chicken dance performed at Midsomer festivals and Oktoberfests. The low point of my social life was when I found myself doing the chicken dance in the beer tent at the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival in Astoria, Oregon.

“Eat your chicken, Jenny.”

“I don’t wanna. I don’t like chicken.”

“It’s good for you, and you’ve barely eaten anything. Come on, Jen.”

“I don’t wanna.”

“You have to eat one bite. That’s all. You can’t leave the table until you do.”

“But I don’t like chicken.”

“One bite. You’re not getting up until you taste it.”

“Mrrrrgghtrmmmrgh. Don’t wanna.”

Conversations like this often went on at my house when I was six or seven years old; I was an adamantly picky eater with an unfortunate dislike for all kinds of chicken. Because chicken was my family’s usual dinner, my aversion caused problems in my house almost daily. I generally managed to force down at least half of my portion, but tonight was different: tonight, the chicken on my plate was coated in some sort of gelatinous slime which puddled around the chunk of flesh like the week-old remains of some animal’s bodily fluids. I would not eat it.

After first asking me, then gently ordering me, my parents finally resorted to threatening punishment and forbidding me to leave the table until I took one bite. Of course, the more they tried to convince me to eat the poultry covered in the unidentifiable pus-like substance, the more obstinate I became. Finally, after everyone else had finished dinner and my parents were cleaning up, I realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to bear sitting in my cold wooden chair for the entire night. I picked up my fork and prodded at the meat, half expecting it to jump from my plate and spit congealed fat at me. When I was fairly sure that the entity was lifeless, I cut off as small a piece as I could which I thought my parents would deem an acceptable size. Inhaling what could very well be the last breath of my life, I plunged my fork into the chicken and deposited it into my mouth. I almost spit it up again as I felt it squirm on my tongue, but I forced it down my throat and to my stomach, in which I was sure the meat would burn a hole or do something equally unpleasant. After about a minute, I finally regained my composure and announced to my parents, who had their backs turned to me at the sink, “OK, I tasted it. I’m getting up now.”

“No you aren’t, young lady,” said my mother in her sternest voice. “I didn’t see you eat it.”

“But I did!” I shrieked, the tears of frustration already welling up.

“All right,” said my father, always the reasonable one, “Then why didn’t you tell us you were going to eat it so we could see you?”

I truly could not think of an answer. I had been too busy observing the jelly-covered meat to remember about that little issue of telling my parents when I actually ingested it. “Um, I don’t know,” I said. “I just thought you’d believe me.”

My mother spoke again. “Well,” she said, “We’d like to believe you. But how can we know you’re telling the truth if neither of us saw you eat it?”

“I did eat it! Why won’t you believe me? I ate it!”

My mother shook her head disappointedly and said, “Well then, I guess you’ll just have to eat another piece.”

“No! I did eat it!”

“You’re going to sit at the table until you eat a piece of that chicken.”

My father and I settled down at the table again for a long wait. I glared at him, absolutely furious that he could have such little faith in his own daughter. “I did eat it, I did eat it, I did eat it,” I chanted over and over in my head. I hadn’t thought it was possible before, but now I planned to stay there all night. I knew I was telling the truth, and I would not eat that second piece of chicken.

After about an hour of glares, tears, and more arguments with my father, I realized that he would never give in. The lump of chicken mocked me from its place among its own filth in the middle of my plate, and at one point I thought I saw it pulse ominously. Conjuring up my most heart-wrenchingly pathetic face, I turned to my father once more; he stared back, not perturbed in the slightest, and shook his head. I had tried every tactic I could think of, and now eating the second piece seemed inevitable. I sighed in resignation. As my father watched, I pushed the slimy chunk down my throat and vowed that I would never make my children suffer so terribly.

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