MADELEINE BRAND, host:
A group called the Sprockettes is causing a stir in Seattle. No, they're not touching any monkeys, there's no one named Dieter in the group. This is an all-girl synchronized dance troupe on wheels. On wheels.
Phyllis Fletcher of member-station KUOW in Seattle reports.
PHYLLIS FLETCHER reporting:
You're 25, married, with a baby. Just how long can you keep riding around on children's bikes in pink and black spandex calling yourself a Sprockette?
Ms. NOELLE ARCHIBALD(ph) (The Sprockettes): As far as I can tell, probably until I die. Yeah, Sprockettes for life.
FLETCHER: Noelle Archibald throws up a hand sign and bobs her head to an imaginary beat.
Ms. ARCHIBALD: What ... yup. It's true.
FLETCHER: She claims life-long allegiance to the Sprockettes. Her street name: Agent Bling. Bling for the gold she wears to cap off her pink and black costume.
Ms. ARCHIBALD: I'm wearing the gold socks, you know. I'm wearing some gold earrings, and I think my main bling in this performance is going to be my moves.
FLETCHER: Like the bicycle wheelbarrow.
Ms. ARCHIBALD: Where I hold on to the handlebars and two girls lift my feet straight up into the air and kind of like wheel-barrow me around the parking lot. So that's my major bling on this performance.
FLETCHER: The Sprockettes. Agent Bling calls them a gang without all the violence. Just fly moves and bikes so small they make anyone over age 10 look like a clown. Lauren Pederson(ph) founded the group two years ago with a friend who said...
Ms. LAUREN PEDERSON (The Sprockettes): I want to know if there's anybody interested in starting an actual synchronized mini-bike dance team.
FLETCHER: Pederson was thrilled. About seven other girls felt the same way. They took their act to a county bicycle fair. The only problem was the costumes. The girls decided to do Janet Jackson one better. They wore tops and short skirts, but for some reason they decided to spray on their underwear. They showed a little more than they intended. They were popular all right, but in the wrong way.
Ms. PEDERSEN: We were taken very seriously as far as art or dance goes. We just had a lot of cat-calling. But we've been working really hard on improving our image and working on our moves and actually being good at what we do.
FLETCHER: Now each Sprockette outfits herself with at least one pair of underwear for every show, and other pink and black duds they find in thrift stores and free piles, and they practice: circus tricks like the bicycle wheelbarrow, synchronized dance moves inspired by the Fly Girls from the early-'90s variety show In Living Color. Cheerleader poses, line kicks...
Unidentified Man: They're getting on their motorcycles, or those little bicycles they have.
FLETCHER: Frank Dion(ph) and Warren Smith(ph) were cruising by the practice and just had to turn around to get another look.
Unidentified Man: I think it's pretty cool at the bikes going backwards and forwards. They're all dressed the same, and they all do like a review.
FLETCHER: Dion wants to know, if this is the practice, where's the show? At a street fair, just a block away.
(Soundbite of cheering)
FLETCHER: The Sprockettes are the finale, and they're a big hit.
(Soundbite of applause)
FLETCHER: Agent Bling says they attract recruits with every show.
Ms. ARCHIBALD: We've had a lot of girls that want to become Sprockettes. We're actually trying to encourage other girls that want to be Sprockettes to start up sister groups and have their own teams, their own names and colors, and we encourage people to make up their own new, fun things. Anybody who does that is a Sprockette.
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FLETCHER: The Sprockettes perform in Seattle this week at the Dead Baby Downhill Bicycle Race. For NPR News, I'm Phyllis Fletcher.
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BRAND: You can find tasteful photos of the Sprockettes and a link to their website at npr.org.