"The Poca Polka"


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The Poca Post is pleased to announce a new issue devoted to the official dance of the Poca River Valley. The dance is called the "Poca Polka." While the dance echoes the traditional polka, it is only by accident. There is a unique character to the Poca Polka as played and danced along the Poca River.

In 1853 Mr. Levi Strauss (1829-1902), a dry goods salesman, was making his way from New York City to San Francisco. He found himself in Bancroft on the Poca (West Virginia) for a few days. Upon learning that Mr. Strauss was in town some of the local folk, thought that this was the famous Johann Strauss, the Younger (1825-1899), the "Waltz King." The townsfolk quickly organized a dance where the local musicians attempted to play waltzes in Mr. Strauss' honor. Some of the young men of the area thought the dance was in honor of Claude Levi-Strauss, a French anthropologist who was to do extensive work in South America in the next century. In his honor, these young men wore bolero jackets.

The attempt at the waltz was heavily infused with old English and Irish strains as they had evolved in Appalachia. The result was not very much like a waltz that Johann Strauss would have known. However, since the honoree was Levi Strauss, a dry goods salesman, he enjoyed and encouraged the musical group. It later became known that the music that had evolved was more like a polka than a waltz. By 1856 the style had become established, and had begun to be called the "Poca Polka." This genre persists to this day in some of the less urbane areas of the Poca River Basin.

This stamp was issued in a pane of 16 stamps in the denomination of 53 pu (poco units).

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