The Paris Techno Parade, otherwise known as “the one day per year that my Anthropology degree is put to use,” is coming up. The earnest and endearing techno kids will be dancing their chemically-enhanced hearts out for eight hours on September 19. The parade (more here) begins at Denfert Rochereau at noon on Saturday and winds slowly through central Paris, ending around 8pm at Bastille. I stumbled upon the parade last year and made this little video of the spectacle:
For those who need a little help in understanding what these kids are up to, here’s a handy Tecktonik primer that I wrote for Gridskipper.
Dancing French Electro-Mimes Battle in the Streets
(originally published by Gridskipper in March 2008)
A dance craze called Tecktonik has stolen the hearts (and much of the hair) of French teenagers. Bands of heavily accessorized youth are now roving through the capital and engaging in public danceoffs. On Friday afternoons the Trocadéro looks like some sort of European set for the 80s film Breakin’. With an aesthetic that crosses New Kids on the Block with the mime Marcel Marceau, these kids are at the heart of a trend that stands to generate millions in merch revenue. The key points of the phenomenon, which is already rearing its mulletted head in the US, are covered in this handy Tecktonik primer.
ICONS This is the stuff that cult films are made of: A suburban teen named Jey-Jey films himself dancing in the garage. His DIY vid sweeps the internet and is ultimately seen by more than four million viewers. Jey-Jey becomes the face of Tecktonik and has packs of girls trying to get into his white jeans.
Another brand name is Treaxy, the dance champion picked to perform in this video for Yelle. He’s now teaching Tecktonik in a chain of fitness centers.
One of the few female icons in the Tecktonik scene, Lily Azian has made a name for herself by dancing only in high heels. The shoes play a starring role in this self-promotion video, as does her azian heritage. Behold as Lili keeps it real by dancing Tecktonik with a bowl of shrimp chips!
BATTLES Tecktonik is not a solo endeavor — even stars like Jey-Jey need some backup. His team Wantek is one among hundreds, and each has a website filled with DIY videos. SMDB Team, pictured below, is a well-known example.
Strength in numbers is all-important when it’s time for the public dance-off. Battles between teams are a regular occurrence in the scene, as are Tecktonik vs. Breakdance scuffles.
MERCH Tecktonik is not just a lifestyle — it’s also a registered trademark. The creators of the brand hail from Metropolis, a suburban club that began hosting Tecktonik events more than five years ago. They now sell a wide range of official products, including clothing, CDs, and energy drinks. The brand has recently expanded to include Tecktonik Body Killer — a suburban hair salon that caters to the special needs of club kid clientele.
EXPORT STRATEGY The marketing engine behind the brand has big plans for Tecktonik. Behold their promo for the American market:
Should we be afraid?