PARIS (AFP) — A new homespun urban dance phenomenon has taken hold in Paris and is quickly spreading to the rest of France through Internet videos and word-of-mouth.
Tecktonik, a mix of hip hop and techno dance, was the talk of this year?s Paris Techno Parade, the annual dance music street carnival that took place in the French capital last Saturday.
Groups of teenagers were overheard chanting "Tecktonik" as dance-offs took place in the street and the evening news bulletins were full of images and testimony from the leaders of this latest craze.
The starting point for the scene is a complex of nightclubs on the southeastern outskirts of Paris called the Metropolis, but there are signs that it is spreading thanks to videos on file-sharing websites YouTube and Dailymotion.
"For seven years we?ve been organising nights called Tecktonik Killer where we play the harder sounds of northern Europe (Belgium, The Netherlands) and the softer sounds of the south (Italy, Spain)," the artistic director of the Metropolis, Cyril Blanc, told AFP.
"Little by little, the clubbers who came invented a choreography," he added, explaining how Tecktonik dancing came to be born.
Tecktonik, judged by the videos on YouTube and displays at the Techno Parade, is a mix of break-dancing, hip hop and techno, featuring flailing arms and quick foot movements.
In appearance, fans share similarities with the new-rave scene in Britain, where fluorescent colours, armbands and tight t-shirts are back in fashion in a clear tribute to the 1980s rave music scene.
"I started to practice at home by looking on the Internet," said Jackie, a 20-year-old regular at the Metropolis who works with young people in a northern suburb of Paris.
"It's a real pleasure to dance the whole day," including on the street, he adds.
Internet searches on YouTube and Dailymotion turn up a series of videos, including one by Jey-Jey, downloaded a million times, who demonstrates his take on Tecktonik in his garage.
Another by Cali, who dances in his living room, also appears to be popular.
"A lot of young people don't have the courage to dance in nightclubs because they are worried about the prejudices of others. The Internet enables them to familiarise themselves with the dance," says Blanc from Metropolis.
The leaders of the Tecktonik craze can be found at meeting spots around Paris, including in the centre near the Pompidou modern art gallery, where dance-offs are organised between teams.
"Dancing has changed me," says Sofian, a 15-year-old from a tough Paris suburb who discovered Tecktonik recently.
"Before I was on the street. I was at the police station everyday. It's been two or three months now since I did anything stupid."
But Anne Petiau, a sociologist specialised in the study of electronic and pop music, says the scene is a mix of young people from different backgrounds.
"Techtonik has also reached the middle classes and beyond. There's a real mix," she says.
After starting in Paris, other nightclubs around France have begun putting on Tecktonik nights -- something not entirely to the liking of the original trendsetters.
Blanc from Metropolis says the organisers of the first Tecktonik night are to start a company.
"To protect the trademark, notably for the music compilations, we are in the process of starting a company," he said.
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