Hip-hop and twerking are gaining in popularity as ways to keep fit and our own Parris Goebel is at the forefront of the global trend, finds Fiona Ralph.
If you are looking for a fun way to get active and the thought of the gym brings you out in a cold sweat, look no further. Dance has taken off as the latest workout trend – and we’re not talking about ballroom or ballet (although these are great exercise, too).
Hip-hop and even twerking are taking the exercise world by storm with new classes springing up all over the world offering a spirit-lifting, whole-body, muscle-toning, heart-pumping workout (check out California’s Lexy Panterra’s twerking fitness videos at lextwerkout.com).
At the forefront of the trend is our very own Parris Goebel, a dancer, choreographer and recording artist who has worked with some of the world’s biggest music stars, choreographing tours and videos for the likes of Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Jennifer Lopez.
Even if you hadn’t already heard of Goebel, it would have been hard to miss her at the recent MTV Video Music Awards, where she was nominated for video of the year and best pop video for Justin Bieber’s Sorry. The simple, addictive clip, with its brightly coloured line-up of dancers, is now the fourth most-viewed video of all on time on YouTube – and Bieber isn’t even in it.
He hired Goebel to direct his visual album (13 music videos, all released on the same day), which was also nominated for an MTV award. But she wasn’t just a fabulously dressed nominee on the night – Goebel also choreographed Rihanna’s opening sequence, her ReQuest crew (who feature in Sorry) dancing alongside the superstar.
Now the artist is making her own music, too. Goebel released her first two singles as Parri$ in August and, if the YouTube views are anything to go by, she will be unstoppable. The talented south Aucklander is passionate about helping other young dancers succeed through her school, The Palace Dance Studio in Auckland’s Penrose. It’s here that her world-champion dance crews The Royal Family and ReQuest are based, and from here that she offers hip-hop lessons for all ages and levels.
Feel the beat
Before you think you’re too old to take a hip-hop class, pause for a moment to consider the success of Waiheke Island’s Hip Op-eration dance crew. This group of seven retirees is officially the world’s oldest dance troupe with an average age of 80.
The group has been touring the world since their documentary, Hip Hop-eration, was released last year. The multi-award-winning film follows the group as they compete in the Las Vegas World Hip Hop Dance Championships. Feel-good doesn’t even begin to cover it.
If all this isn’t enough to convince you to try out a hip-hop class there are plenty of other dance-inspired options, including fast-paced yoga and pilates set to hip-hop beats. So, go on, get up and just dance!
Where to try it
Twerk it Out is run by Hayley Ackerman, originally from the UK. Her classes and national workshops teach women how to twerk – that is, how to move the buttocks in a provocative and seriously muscle-toning way.
Head to The Palace Dance Studio in Auckland’s Penrose to learn from New Zealand’s best. Although she may not always be in town, Parris Goebel’s award-winning dance crews are based at her school. Adults can take casual classes or arrange a private lesson.
West Aucklanders should check out Notorious Dance Company in Henderson which offers hip-hop classes to pre-schoolers right through to adults of all abilities.
Rise Dance Company offers hip-hop, acro (acrobatic) dance and contemporary classes for children and adults in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, Papamoa and Rotorua.
For an adults-only hip-hop class in the capital, take yourself to Pump Dance Studios in Mount Cook, where founder, Libby Calder, has been teaching hip-hop dance for 15 years.
Zion Studios brings you straight urban/hip-hop dance with a unique flavour and style. Classes available for children and adults of all levels.