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         Peckin' is not a dance but a vernacular movement within another dance. Frank Sebastion's Cotton Club (not related to the New York Club) in Los Angeles is said to have done the first public performance routine with the "Peckin' Motion" (Chicken) done by a group called the Three Chocolateers (Eddie West, Paul Black and Albert "Gib" Gibson) in 1934 and became a Swing and Ballroom sensation. The Three Chocolateers can be seen doing it in the feature length film entitled "New Faces of 1937" (clip on left) by RKO Radio films and "Murder at the Vanities (1934)."

   Later, the "Cotton Club Express" (a dance group) at the Cotton Club in New York would introduce the "Peckin' dance" in 1937 to the dancing public. Basically it was done with the head bobbing forward and back to each beat as the

couple faces each other, with a "Pecking motion" (like a chicken) towards each other's head. Can be done in place or traveling, solo or couple or group. Usually done in the Lindy Hop world of dance.

    Modern day Peckin' ... outside of the Swing dance world is a "Ghetto Booty shaking - continuous bounce" and is sexualy provocative in nature with the guys usually moving behind the female and "Freaking (a humping motion)".

... more to come!


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Los Angeles, CA. 1934 Three Chocolateers Swing

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music preview clip

Music Titles

n/a n/a
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Peckin' (Ben Pollack & Harry James)
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Peckin' (Benny Goodman) 1937
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Peckin' (Cab Calloway) 1937
            Video Clip not available at this time Peckin' (Duke Ellington)
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Peckin' (J. Dorsey/ Bing Crosby)
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Peckin' (Johnny Hodges / Cootie Williams)
            Video Clip not available at this time Peck-A-Doodle-Do [MP3] (Calloway)
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Peckin' Time (Hank Mobley) 1958
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Peckin' With The Penquins (T. Dorsey)

Night Clubs



Cotton Club, Sebastians (CA) n/a Harvest Moon Ball Contests
Cotton Club (NY)        
Savoy Ballroom (NY)            
Video Clips (pop-up)

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1934 - Murder at the Vanities n/a 1937 - Cotton Club Express
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1937 - New Faces of 1937 [RKO]        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1940 - Too Many Girls (Peckin at 4:17)        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1942 - Harlem Rhumba (Chocolateers)        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window. 1942 - Peckin' (the Chocolateers)        
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1942 - Sugar Hill Masquerade (shorty's group)      



Other Related Dances of the time...

Apple Jacks Jitterbug Mule Walk, the Spankin' The Baby n/a
Big Apple Kickin' The Mule Pass the Ammunition Suzy-Q  
Boogie Woogie Lindy Hop Peelin' The Peach Truckin'  
Charleston Little Apple Shag    

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Al Minns Nicholas Brothers n/a
Albert "Gib" Gibson Paul Black"  
Eddie West Three Chocolateers  
Leon James Whitey's Lindy Hoppers  
Mae Diggs     

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
n/a n/a n/a n/a

Musicians/Bands etc


Poets / Writers

Benny Goodman n/a n/a
Ben Pollack (1936)        
Cab Calloway        
Duke Ellington        
The Chocolateers        

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Swing Dance Animal Dance n/a -
Novelty Dance Jazz Dance      


Peckin' Lyrics: (Cab Calloway's)
You talk about your Truckin' when your Peckin' is new,
Well, here's a dance that you all should do:
You get 'way low down to the floor,
And if you peck once, you'll peck twice, you'll peck it some more. You peck to the front, to the sides, to the back,
Well, look at old Jim, he's pecking on his back!
Peckin' to me is a lot of fun,
Well, you peck one, and I'll peck one, well, we'll all peck one! It's the dance we all should do,
In the place of the Suzy-Q;
Well, come on folks, lend me your ears awhile,
And I'll guarantee you, your little tootsie-wootsies will sure run wild. You peck to the east, and then you peck to the west,
Then you peck, peck, peck 'til you've pecked your best.
Well, then okay, well, a-hey, hey,
We'll peck up, we'll peck up, we'll peck up the floor. Yeah!
March 26, 2013

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