The invention of the Chicken Dance

Today I would like to report on a startling new discovery (made in collaboration with my wife, Dr. A. M. Belis of the Metropolitan Museum): the Chicken Dance did not originate in Switzerland in the 1950s as is commonly believed, but in ancient Greece. The evidence is provided by an Athenian black-figure hydria in the Met, attributed to the Circle of Lydos and dating to ca. 560 BCE.

Terracotta hydria, ca. 560 BCE; attributed to the Circle of Lydos; H. 50.1 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art 1988.11.3 (The Bothmer Purchase Fund).

These figures probably represent the chorus of a Greek comedy, but they are clearly doing the Chicken Dance to the accompaniment of a flautist.