Bicycle Art: Bike dance with the Derailleurs

Pub date May 13, 2009
SectionPixel Vision

In honor of Bike to Work week, we’re featuring one aspect of bicycle art per day. Check back regularly for homages to Cyclecide, Bicycle Porn, the Bicycle Film Festival, and more. By Molly Freedenberg

de rail leur [di-rey-ler]. noun:

1. a gear shifting mechanism on a bicycle that shifts the drive chain from one sprocket wheel to another

2. a Bay Area-based group of badass girls who dance on, with, and about bikes

The Derailleurs. Clockwise from left: Agents Contrary, Flux, Chaos (Eliza Strack), Joke Star, Agitator, Verve (Hollis Hawthorne), Take the Lane, DoubleOO, and Edge. Photo by Alicia Sangiuliano.

Perhaps my favorite development in the world of bicycle art is bike dance, the strange and beautiful hybrid between high school drill team and BMX bike crew.

It all started – in its current form, at least – with the Sprockettes, who formed almost six years ago in Portland. A group of bold, fun-loving ladies donned pink and black outfits and performed synchronized dance and bike tricks at the Multnomah Bike Fair, a one-time show that was so popular, it not only grew into a regularly-performing dance troupe, but spawned a bona fide movement.

Inspired by the Sprockettes, bike enthusiasts in other cities began to form their own troupes, each choosing their own “power colors” and establishing unique identities with their own combination of synchronized moves, bike tricks, acrobatics, and fire. (Check out a full description of the history of bike dance here.)