(Warning: Video Overload)
It’s one of my quirk hobbies as of late, learning to dance the Para Para.
For those who have no idea what this is, I’m not surprised. The hobby’s not as popular as cross-stitching or reading Harry Potter. So here’s a simple guide about Para Para.
Basically, Para Para (or Para-Para or Parapara) is a form of club dancing popularized in Japan. It started in the 1980s and became popular outside of the Land of the Rising Sun by the 1990s, and has since evolved into different forms.
What sets it apart from other forms of rave and club dancing is that each song has a corresponding choreography that everyone else should follow, kinda like line dancing but with more hand movement and less focus on the legs.
Para Para is usually danced along with Euro-Pop songs, which recording companies in Japan would popularize by distributing DVDs containing the choreography. The video above demonstrates some of the basic moves in Para Para.
What’s good about this is that you can either dance this alone (like this gal from Russia)…
With a pair (like this Brazilian duo)…
With a group (like these cute American gals)…
Or have an intricate production number, putting several songs together to make one really long routine (like what these Paralists in Taiwan did).
Being a social dance, Paralists would gather around in parks and rehearse the latest routines on site. This is where “teams” are created, kinda like a barkada who all love Para Para.
With the popularity of Techno and Trance music, Para Para evolved into Techpara and Trapara respectively, each with its own characteristics and sublte differences.
Trapara is usually danced on slightly slower songs. It only has one to three routines in each song (unlike in Para Para where four arm patterns are the minimum). It also has what I like to call “rest period” where you just stop dancing, giving time to drink water or socialize with fellow dancer.
Here’s one Trapara routine that I like so much. It looks so darn easy, but it’s not.
Meanwhile, Techpara is little more complex. It dances on faster songs and most of the time your feet are planted apart while your hips swing from right to left. Since the songs in Techpara are fast, the hand movements are just as quick and difficult to master. People who would see this for the first time would remind them of rave dancing. (Please do note that the video is in “reverse,” a technique used by some Paralists to dance along.)
I actually have a hard time doing Techpara. Maybe I’ll pass this one for now.
Meanwhile, I’m gonna practice this one. It’s so me!