Just For Fun

The St Louis Metro Polka Club has lots of fun, mostly because of the members and their super personalities.  Take Helen Rademacher and her buddy "Jocko" a dummy she dances with.

Heleln.jpg Jocko is the brain child of  Helen Rademacher. He is a life size dance partner who exclusively dances with her. Helen remarks that Jocko is a very good dancer and doesn't miss a step.  He made his debut in 1990 at the Four Seasons Lodge in the Ozarks at a Polkafest.

He weighs 26 pounds, and is fashioned from a 14 yr old boys mannequin torso, some stuffing and chicken wire. He is rather quiet, never talks back,  has brown eyes and the distinguishing characteristic of two left hands. As he aged he acquired a mustache and goatee. Helen and her good friends Wayne and Margaret Heinemeier helped in Jocko's construction.

Jocko moves as Helen moves, with the soles of their shoes attached and flexible knees.
Helen got the idea for her dancing partner from her father, John Duda.  In about 1941 her father fashioned a similar partner "Wilma" from a mannequin's head. He wowed the crowd as he and "Wilma" danced around the floor. Sadly, "Wilma" disintegrated over time. 

Both "Wilma" and "Jocko"  dance by having flexible knees and special shoes in addition to a neck strap around their partners neck. Jocko's strap is attached at his navel. Special footwear have been made with two pair of shoes with the soles attached - toe to toe - with man's shoes on one side, woman's on the other.


Jocko - ready to roll!
Jocko loves to travel.  He's been in Wyoming, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. He has danced at the Lawrence Welk Theater in Branson, Missouri, and has given Helen the opportunity to meet many musicians and fellow dancers.

Helen and "Jocko" regularly attended the St. Louis Metro Polka club's 3 day festival Thanksgiving weekend and made an appearance together for over 10 consecutive years.  

"Jocko" went into semi-retirement in her basement when he became a little too heavy for Helen to handle.  In late 2014, a woman from Minnesota contacted Helen and inquired if she would consider selling him as she was in the market for a partner who was as good a dancer as she was.  Helen thought "Jocko" would enjoy living in Florida with a new partner and agreed to sell him.  The woman from Mnnesota picked him up on her way to Florida Dec 15th.   

Back to St. Louis Metro Polka Club Home Page

Last Modified 03/09/2015