My happy place: Parris Goebel

By Bronwyn Sell

Parris Goebel, hip-hop dancer and choreographer.

Hip-hop dancer Parris Goebel in The Palace Dance Studio. Photo / Doug Sherring
Hip-hop dancer Parris Goebel in The Palace Dance Studio. Photo / Doug Sherring

My happy place is the Palace Dance Studio in Penrose. It's like my second home, where I teach dance. This is the place where my students grow but also where I grow as a dancer and as a person.

It's my escape. When things aren't going well I can always count on coming here and the people here lifting my spirits, and dance itself lifting my spirits. This is where I get to find myself, and show myself what I can do, and push the boundaries of hip-hop.

I started the studio three years ago. It was an ambitious thing but I'd wanted to start a studio ever since I was about 13. I'm 20 now. When I grew up I didn't really feel I had a place where I could call home, where I could go and train up, and learn from the best.

I'm pretty much self-taught. When I come in here, it lights up my life, lights up my day. The colours help - it's painted purple and there are colours everywhere. It's basically just one huge room, with mirrors across the front of it. It's got a really good energy about it, and what tops it off is the people who are here.

We have dancers coming in and out every day, and classes from 4pm basically every night. There's

acompany of about 30 dancers called the Royal Family - that's more of the elite team. We're in here every night training up for competitions, performances, showcases.

There have been a lot of things happening this year. The first thing was me choreographing for a Jennifer Lopez tour. And then her company ended up flying my dance crew, ReQuest, over to perform on American Idol with her.

Through that I met a guy who directs for Cirque du Soleil, and he asked me if I was interested in choreographing for them. Of course I said yes. It's a new show, a Michael Jackson tribute permanently based in Las Vegas. It's really exciting. It's a big fantasy, to be honest. It's really surreal.

That's our goal as a studio, to get that pathway going so kids can come here, train, and have the hopes and drive to go to America and book something as big as Jennifer Lopez. I wanted to create that opportunity for other young kids ... for them to one day get on the world stage or become a full-time dancer. I wanted to create something I didn't have.

* Parris Goebel is the ambassador for the Southside Arts Festival which runs until November 11. Many of the events are free. For information about her studio, see thepalacedancestudio.co.nz.

- Herald on Sunday

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