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-   -   What is Chicken dancing? (http://forums.powwows.com/f38/what-chicken-dancing-6002/)

ctryprincess 10-28-2002 08:06 PM

What is Chicken dancing?
What is chicken dancing? I know they dress a little differently, some wear tights... But other than that, can someone please explain the chicken dance. There are a few chicken dance songs as well, in powwow music country, and to tell you the truth, I can't find a big difference. Your help would be appreciated. Thanks.

o_styo_jngl 10-28-2002 08:21 PM

ask Elmo...aye i jokes....:P

Wakalapi 10-29-2002 02:39 AM

An elder told me about a hill in eastern Montana, called Chicken Hill ("shiobaha"), so named for the prairie chickens found dancing there. Their dance was taught to men, and it continues to this day. So says the old story.

Historically, this style is sort-of a predecessor to Fancy Dancing but it has been making a strong comeback. Chicken Dancers usually are registered along with Northern Tradish at contest, though some powwows have chicken dance specials. I have yet to see a powwow where chicken dancers are their own category, though I have heard people (both the chicken dancers and the straight tradish) wanting this. There has recently been some discussion on other threads regarding the growing trend to sing Duck and Dive during chicken dance specials.

Guys dancing this way tend to wear very flamboyant regalia colors with flowery designs, round bustles with matching side bustles on the shoulders. Their movements immitate strutting roosters, preening themselves.

Sweet Syilx 10-29-2002 09:53 PM


I do believe Chilliwack pow-wow now has the Chicken Dance as its own category now. Sort of neat to see.

Although it's a bit amusing to see men strut around in tights *grinz*


RainyDaze49 10-30-2002 01:02 AM

LMAO @ tights remark!!
Ennit though??? LOL I like the chicken dance....

The songs dont vary to much from like a crow hop style sounding song. I think its just the difference in outfit.....ennit?

CHEROSAGE 10-30-2002 11:20 PM

I finally got to see a Chicken Dance at the Way South Powwow, this last weekend. The Head man was a lakota Tradish and was one of the dancers that performed this dance.

He did a fine job for a big guy. In my mind that is the chicken dance until I see it done differently. It was a very good dance and I enjoyed it. The guest Northern drum offered the song and Dan said it was a good song for the dance.

Still it does'nt match up to a good night of Stomp dancing!!!!!!!

Wakalapi 10-31-2002 03:46 AM

This Dakota friend of mine from Crow Creek rez saw them for the first time, tights with flowers and butterfly embroidery, pink and pastel colors, foo-faw fluff feather accents ..... the first thing she said was "what's this a winkte wacipi?"

Don't take this the wrong way, chicken dancers, but ya can understand why I totally busted a gut when she said that...

kneegrow_native 10-31-2002 12:57 PM


The songs dont vary to much from like a crow hop style sounding song. I think its just the difference in outfit.....ennit?
It depends on what kind of songs the Chicken Dancers get. A lot of time they get the old style double beat crow hop, sometimes they get combination songs (double beat crow hop-straight-shake), sometimes they get straight songs, sometimes they get a duck and dive. It depends on the discretion of the person running the contest.

~*~ShanLyn~*~ 10-31-2002 02:02 PM


ask Elmo...aye i jokes....:P
ha datz whut i wuz gonna say.....lol

ctryprincess 11-04-2002 10:33 AM

Thanks everyone for your replies! That helps a lot. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out. If you have any more tips & stuff, please post away! ;)

TradisH~*~QueeniE 11-13-2002 01:32 AM


j_sayapi 11-14-2002 03:51 AM

Chicken Dance

What I heard is like what "Wakalapi" said, there's a place outside of a town on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation called Wolf Point, Montana. There is a place near there that is called Siyo Baha or Chicken Hill, in the Nakota language . This is was along the Highline, Highway 2 that runs along northern Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and east.

A long time ago in the buffalo days, a man went hunting early one morning. It was really foggy outside, so the man decided to wait for the fog to clear and then he would continue hunting. He went up on this hill, above the layer of fog to wait. As he sat there waiting, he fell asleep.

While he was lying there asleep, he heard some noise ("Dig'dee" Dig'dee") and when he looked there were Prairie Chickens dancing all around him on that hill. As one of them Prairie Chickens danced by he asked him what they were doing, the Prairie Chicken replied "we are dancing".

How do you do that, the man asked? The Prairie Chicken held up his wings and said like this. He showed the man how to dance like the Prairie Chickens do. The man woke up from his dream and when he returned home, he shared his dream with his people.

The male Prairie Chickens dance for the female hens each spring during courtship and mating. They puff out their chests, stomp their feet, shake their heads, fan their tail feathers out in a round fashion and dance. As the male Praire Chicken dances he also throws his top feathers down towards the ground. This is all done to attract the attention of the hens.

That's why Prairie Chicken dancers have those two top feathers with fluffs on the tips. As they dance they are supposed to also bend downwards so the top feathers drop forward and towards the ground. There are various songs that go with this dance and they even have ceremonies much like the Grass Dance Society.

You can watch Praire Chickens do this dance during the spring months, early in the morning. You can also hear the sound that they make as they dance (Dig'dee, Dig'dee)The white man calls these places Lekks, where Praire Chickens can be found. :)

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