The origin of Poco-poco
I received a chain email saying that Poco-poco actually originates from the Philippines, used widely by the Christians there. The email argued that the line dance, which now has gain its popularity in Brunei as well, actually made a cross through its steps and wondered if it will be banned by some Muslim countries after the furor of yoga and its mantras. The steps take the dancer to the four directions of a room and is said to be similar to the ‘Nutbush’ or ‘The bus stop’ and other western disco dances.
From the searches that I made on ‘poco-poco’, it reveals that the very popular social dance originated from the Sulawesi about 20 years ago to accompany a new pop song at that time called ‘Poco-poco’. The lyrics described a man’s admiration of a beautiful woman of Minahasa.
This Minahasa site quoting one Ibu Harimawan, a ballroom dance teacher said that poco-poco was made popular by the ABRI or the Indonesian army. Apart from poco-poco, two other community dances – tebe-tebe and sojojo have been popular since the 1990’s, said the site. Another Yogya’s dance teacher said the poco-poco originates from the Moluccas, specifically from Ambon.
One Jamaican English dictionary listed ‘poco-poco’ as Jamaican answer for ‘How do you do?’ meaning ‘not too good and not too bad’. However, there appears to be a number of words associated with ‘poco’ in the dictionary which relates to a kind of wild dance under the possession of what was believed to be, of ‘ancestral spirits’.
One account recorded by Washington Post during the era of General Suharto’s rule cited that thousands of students protestors streamed into the streets demanding his ousting. The riot police found out that force could no longer cow the crowds so they cranked up the loudspeakers and put on the poco-poco and asked the students to dance. The students who were suddenly confronted with the irresistible rhythm, danced the poco-poco. Nice.
Another search resulted saying that rural farmers in the Irian Jaya danced the poco-poco style when they are harvesting the padi. The arm movement during dancing the poco-poco actually resembles hoeing, rowing or sowing. This reminds me of Brunei’s own folksong and accompanied dance, the Adai-adai, which tells the story of a fisherman going to the sea and leaving behind his wife for the whole day.
Now the moves for the poco-poco below. Try it and tell me if it’s anywhere similar to a cross
While facing the front:
– walk to your right; step right, left, right and bring feet together
– repeat to the left; step left, right, left and feet together
– step forward with one foot….
Better learn by watching the video below: