Tecktonik founder had no intention of starting a craze

Cyril Blanc is credited with originating the dance that grew out of the Paris club scene and mixes a variety of styles.

Robert Marquand
Tck original: Cyril Blanc's brand of Tecktonik dance is spreading throughout Europe.

Cyril Blanc is a tallish, shy young man trained in classical and modern jazz dance who came to Paris in the early 1990s at age 18.

His parents work at the Otis elevator factory near Gies in central France. Dance is a passion, not a job, and that's how he felt when he started visiting the club Metropolis in the late 1990s with his partner, Alexander.

They didn't like the club scene where "all the places we went had the same music at the start and at the end of the evening," says Mr. Blanc.

At the time, a mix of dance styles was filtering into Paris: jump from Belgium, hard from the Netherlands, electro from Italy, tech house from Spain. They began organizing evenings where music would change and people could try different dances, even if they had their own preferences.

"We had people from Belgium, all parts of France, Switzerland. They were gay, straight, from the banlieue, as well as the center of Paris. People had different dress, but we didn't judge clothes, which is unusual for Paris. It was a kind of milkshake effect. Everything was mixed, and out of this environment came a new dance, almost as a by-product of everything else."

Blanc says certain Tecktonik, or just Tck, rhythms and gestures are taken from hip-hop.

"But it isn't hip-hop, and the music certainly isn't hip-hop. Hip-hop comes from the street, this comes from the clubs. Tck happened over time, day by day, as we experimented. We weren't thinking that we were making a new dance trend that would get hot three years later. Some of the fluid arm movements come from traditional African dance."

Tck is unusual since it is not constricted by a certain kind of music, he says.

"The music is not organizing the dance. You can dance in different styles within the same piece of music. You can be dancing jump style, but when voices enter the song, you can switch to tech house. A girl might have a sweeter electro dance than a guy, who might want to be more athletic."

He knew Tck caught on when it started making a buzz online.

"I knew we had something new. People starting filming us at Metropolis and posting it, and this has continued. It is a way for dancers to show what we are doing, and as corny as it sounds, it is a way for us to share."

Tck has hit Paris streets partly due to the Internet, partly because the younger brothers and sisters of Tckers aren't allowed in clubs until they are 18, and partly because "last spring was beautiful weather, and everyone was going outside to meet their friends and dance. It became a genuine outbreak."

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