Like Kiwi teen superstars Lorde and Lydia Ko (I’ve highlighted both in previous blogs) New Zealand born Samoan, Parris Goebel is also a remarkable success story. Parris has a solid build, not what we are used to with top professional dancers but to watch her move is indeed mesmerising.

Parris Goebel

Parris Goebel (thearts.co.nz)

Parris was born, and still lives in South Auckland where the majority of the city’s Pacific Island people can be found. I’ve worked with Samoans in both Samoa and New Zealand and can honestly say, they are a reserved people and not keen on being the centre of attention. Parris Goebel is different, very different! When you see her on television either being interviewed, teaching or dancing, it is very obvious Parris is no introvert. She admits to being comfortable with who she is and the confidence she possesses has allowed her to reach for the stars and grab them with both hands.


Parris began dancing when she was just 10 and at 15, she created her first dance group with four friends. Naming it Request, the hip hop crew started their rehearsals in her aunt’s garage, then moved to her father’s warehouse. In 2009, Request headed to Las Vegas to compete in the World Hip Hop Dance Championships. They won first place in their division and the following year, Parris returned and entered her group in the senior section. Again, they came first, ahead of America’s top dance crew. Parris was so popular, she was asked to perform the final dance at that year’s Monster of Hip Hop Convention. After Request won top awards at competitions in Melbourne and San Diego, Parris and her dancers continued on the road to fame when they were contracted by Cirque du Soleil to dance for their Michael Jackson show. Impressive!!

Request Dance Team


Parris, with her father’s assistance, set up the Palace Dance Studios in Auckland and Hamilton to teach Hip Hop. Their website advises potential dancers:  The Palace Dance Studio promotes a supportive, smoke-free, alcohol-free, no swearing, no arrogance and a friendly environment.”  This highly focused young dancer/choreographer wants her students to not only have fun while learning to dance, but she encourages them to also follow their dreams, just as she has done. To date, she has formed seven crews as part of the Royal Family mega crew. (What’s with this ‘Royal’ thing ? Lorde was hooked into it too!!). These various crews have been invited to dance at venues and events around the world.parris65


Parris calls her unique style of dance, ‘polyswagg’, I guess it’s a nod to her Polynesian roots. She admits to being influenced by Jamaican dance and it’s important for her and her crews to have an organic connection to the movements. She says this is done with breathing and feeling the movements as they are performed. Parris doesn’t try and force anything on her dancers. She prefers to allow them to express themselves and in that way, they are more enthusiastic and focused whenever they perform. However, she is adamant that her dancers need to be passionate about their work because she understands how crucial passion is for each of her dancer’s success.


In 2012, Parris starred in America’s Best Dance Crew and Dancing With the Stars, Australia.  That same year, she performed on Jennifer Lopez’s world tour. She has also choreographed music videos for Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Nikki Minaj, Big Bang, CL, iKON. She also choreographed Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ music clip. In fact, Parris and her dance crew featured exclusively throughout the video. Justin loves Parris’s dancing style. He was so pleased with the success of his ‘Sorry’ video, he contracted her to work on all 13 videos in his Purpose: The Movement series. These achieved a staggering 3 billion views.


In 2014, Parris hit the big screen when she choreographed and appeared in the Hollywood dance movie Step Up: All In. She and her crew also played a prominent part in the New Zealand feature film Born to Dance.


A seven part reality TV series called The Palace  tracked the effort Parris and her dancers went through as they prepared for the 2015 Hip Hop World Dance Championship.

New Zealand Post has recently screened a set of television commercials that totally featured Parris and her dancers. It is heartening that a stuffy government department appreciates the huge pulling power of this local superstar.

TV Commercial

New Zealand Post TV Commercial


Parris has now moved into writing her own music and has just released  Nasty, a video from her EP Run and Tell Your Friends. In an interview, Parris said she wanted the production to look and feel organic so she had it filmed at sunset on a farm. The dancers are dressed in loosely fitting costumes made of wool and cotton to emphasize the rustic feel she wanted to create.

I’d imagine Parris’s personal philosophy is something along the lines of : ‘if you believe in your abilities you can live your dream life!’ Belief in her own abilities has certainly propelled her onto the international stage and with her focus, personality and energy, I’m sure she will continue to be an inspiration to everyone.



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