One wonders why the Indonesians have not accused Malaysians of stealing one of their national treasures the poco poco – a modern upbeat Nusantara version of line-dancing which first appeared among the military of Indonesia and quickly spread into the wider Indonesian social scene.

The dance was soon spotted by fun-loving Malaysians, crossed the seas and  has become a popular feature of many a Malaysian social event including weddings. Unlike in Indonesia where the men participate fully in interpreting  the basic and fancy steps, in Malaysia the women are more enthused.

Poco-poco classes are run astride the ballroom, belly dance, salsa and other exotic dance movements. Among many women’s groups it is executed for hours on end, before or after a meal. It is regarded as a healthy pastime which has the incidental benefit of a communal form of exercise. Fun while you sweat! And then you can eat to your heart’s desire!

As with many of the older communal dance rituals like the joget, inang and zapin, Malaysians can’t really claim the poco poco copyrights as they originated from the folk dances of other countries and cultures.

The earliest folk dances in many cultures were line dances, originating before social proprieties allowed men and women to dance together in couple dances. In early forms men and women often danced in separate lines, but the same dances are often done today in mixed lines. The Balkan countries, among others, have a rich tradition of line dance surviving to the present. These folk line dances are also performed in the international folk dance movement. Folk line dances have many forms: pairs of lines in which the dancers face each other, or a line formed into a circle, or the line follows a leader around the dance floor. The dancers may hold hands with their neighbors, or use an arm-on-shoulder hold, or hold their neighbor’s belts. [2]

Although line dancing is associated with country-western music and dance, it has a similarities to folk dancing.[3] Many folk dances are danced in unison in a single, nonlinear “line”, and often with a connection between dancers. The absence of a physical connection between dancers is, however, a distinguishing feature of country western line dance. Line dances have accompanied many popular music styles since the early 1970s including pop, swing, rock and roll, disco, latin (Salsa Suelta), and Jazz.[4]

The Madison was a popular line dance in the late 1950s. At least five line dances that are strongly associated with country-western music were written in the 1970s, two of which are dated to 1972: “Walkin’ Wazi”[5][6] and “Cowboy Boogie”,[7][8][9] five years before the disco craze created by the release of Saturday Night Fever in 1977, the same (approximate) year the “Tush Push” was created.[10] The “L.A. Hustle” began in a small Los Angeles disco in the Summer of 1975, and hit the East Coast (with modified steps) in Spring of ’76 as the “Bus Stop.[11] Another 70s line dance is the “NutBush”.[12]

Over a dozen line dances were created during the 1980s for country songs.[2][3] The 1980 film Urban Cowboy reflected the blurring of lines between country music and pop, and spurred renewed interest in country culture, and western fashion, music, and dance.[13] “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” was choreographed by Bill Bader in October of 1990 for the original Asleep at the Wheel recording of the song of the same name.[4][5] The Brooks and Dunn version of the song has resulted in there being at least 16 line dances with “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” in the title,[14] including one by Tom Maddox and Skippy Blair under contract to the recording company.[15]

Billy Ray Cyrus‘ 1992 hit Achy Breaky Heart, helped catapult western line dancing into the mainstream public consciousness.[16] In 1994 choreographer Max Perry had a worldwide dance hit with “Swamp Thang” for the song of the same name by The Grid. This was a techno song that fused banjo sounds in the melody line and helped to start a trend of dancing to forms of music other than country. In this mid 1990s period country western music was influenced by the popularity of line dancing. This influence was so great that Chet Atkins was quoted as saying “The music has gotten pretty bad, I think. It’s all that damn line dancing.” [17]

Max Perry, along with Jo Thompson, Scott Blevins and several others, began to use ballroom rhythms and technique to take line dancing to the next level. In 1998, the band Steps created further interest outside of the U.S. with the techno dance song 5,6,7,8. In 1999 the Gap retailer debuted the “Khaki Country” ad on the Academy Awards ceremony. [6] Line dancers performed to the 1999 version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Dwight Yoakum. Line dance now has very traditional dances to country music, and not so traditional dances to non country music.

Line dancing is practiced and learned in country-western dance bars, social clubs, dance clubs and ballrooms worldwide. It avoids the problem of imbalance of male/female partners that plagues ballroom/swing/salsa dancing clubs. It is sometimes combined on dance programs with other forms of country-western dance, such as two-step, and western promenade dances, as well as western-style variants of the waltz, polka and swing.

The Macarena and the Chicken Dance, the later of which is danced in a circle, are other examples of line dance.

Line dancing reached Europe, nourished by the arrival of Country Music Television,[18][19] and in 2008 gained the attention of the French government.[20]

* excerpt from Wilkipedia


2 Responses to “”

  1. 1 akmal abdul salam
    November 12, 2009 at 9:04 pm


    Awesome!Agree 100% with what you wrote. though we are bound by our culture and commitments
    we must have our own identity. No other specie created by the Almighty can multi-tasks and at the same time be a high achiever than us woman! Keep up the spirit of comraderie and lets help each other in sadness and share our happiness.This way we will always stay happy, healthy,beautiful.May God bless us all.

    Salam, may

  2. 2 ninitalk
    November 15, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Yes – woman power has not been tapped to its full potential! We are the real source of strength to our husband and children, on top of the extended family!We are the shoulder they cry on!

    Yes – we must develop the confidence and the self-assuredness to hold our head up high whatever challenges come our way Insya Allah!

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