Otaku's Voice - Para Para Paradise!

Nov 18th 2002
Para Para is the latest, coolest dance craze in Japan. Loosely related to "line dancing", Para Para began in the clubs of Tokyo and spread like wildfire across the country. The music, a combination of Eurobeat and Tokyo Techno, regularly mixes in anime songs to give it more of a kick. Well-known singers such as Yoko Ishida have lent their voices to this high-charged music. Para Para dancing looks more like the Twist and the Macarena, if both were dropped into a blender, and puréed for 15 minutes. The dance incorporates the entire body, starting with the arms and ending with the shifting of the legs. Meanwhile, the music intensifies the whole dancing experience.

This dance style is quickly penetrating American clubs and anime conventions alike. At both Anime Expo and Otakon, Yoko Ishida's two young accomplices, Yuriko and Hiroe, offered demonstrations on how to Para Para properly. Beginning with basic arm movements, these two taught the audience to flow with the music. By the end of the demonstration sessions, the audience danced in unison to Yuriko and Hiroe's moves.

The Para Para concert was a whole new experience altogether. Yuriko and Hiroe were dressed as maids, and began by dancing with a group of the Para Para dancers from the demonstration. The crowd sang and danced to the lyrics of Yoko Ishida and the performances by her associates. The hip, upbeat music and the stylish dancing are both very addictive, and it's no wonder why so many people enjoy it.

The people from Pioneer are trying to spread the word of the Para Para dance. They were asking some fans at one of the Panels at Otakon where Para Para could be spread faster. Most of the answers came from kids who wanted them to be expanded into clubs in medium to smaller cities around the US. The representative from Pioneer was astonished by how popular Para Para is in the larger cities (i.e. New York and LA).

Only time will tell how this newest dance craze will stack up against some of the dance crazes of yesteryear.

Now if you excuse I am late to do some dancing. "para, para..."

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