Kiwi dancing queen's message to young

By Dionne Christian

Parris Goebel and her dance crew from The Palace Dance Studio. Photo / AP
Parris Goebel and her dance crew from The Palace Dance Studio. Photo / AP

Hot-stepping dance sensation Parris Goebel said young Kiwis should back themselves to make it on to the worldwide stage.

Goebel, 24, has unleashed her fancy footwork on the likes of chart-toppers including Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

And the Kiwi choreographer to the stars has declared her global hip-hop dancing stardom is all down to realising there's no such thing as becoming an overnight sensation.

Goebel and hip-hop champions ReQuest dance crew and The Royal Family from her Palace Dance Studio, appeared at a star-studded concert in Manukau this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Street Dance New Zealand.

The anniversary was held during NZ Dance Week, which aims to celebrate and raise awareness of all forms of dance.

Goebel told the rapturous crowd that to be successful, you need to recognise it's a journey and things don't happen overnight or always go according to plan: "You have to believe in yourself even when others don't."

She received further applause when she declared NZ youth need to know they can take on the world and achieve anything.

"And I think, right across all the arts, we can see that happening. I am really excited for our young people."

The success of hip-hop in New Zealand owes much to SDNZ, which has enjoyed phenomenal growth since it started in 2006.

It began when a group of dancers from the Otara-based Dziah (pronounced desire) crew emailed the organisers of the world hip-hop dance championships and asked if they could come over and compete. Other international crews earned their place at the annual event through regional and national competitions, but there were no qualifying events in New Zealand.

"We pretty much invited ourselves," said Shua Martin, a member of the original Dziah crew who MC-ed the 10th anniversary concert. "We thought, 'Oh well, all they can do is say no'."

But the answer was yes and, after coming eighth, the Dziah crew asked if they could run qualifiers in New Zealand. Martin and fellow dancers Billie Paea and Allister Salaivao faced the daunting task of running a national event and regional competitions.

They sought help from Billie's dad, youth worker Sully Paea who founded Crosspower Ministries, a charitable trust that runs community programmes to help young people. In 2006, Crosspower created SDNZ to organise regional and national events.

NZ hip-hop dancers are now regarded as among the best in the world. Many who have participated in SDNZ competitions work professionally here and overseas.

As well as working with some of the biggest names in the music industry, dance crews from Goebel's The Palace Dance Studio have won numerous world hip-hop championships gold medals.

Meanwhile, Auckland-based The Bradas of ID Co are considered the best adult hip-hop dance crew in the world after winning their division at the HHI competition last year.

Nathan Kara, of The Bradas, has been dancing since he was 8 and now, aged 20, said it was better than rugby " "fewer concussions" " and he couldn't wait to get back to the US to defend the title.

He knows a bit about rugby injuries; his father, Stephen, is the doctor for the Blues.

- NZ Herald

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