Request hip-hopping to the top
All-girl Kiwi hip-hop crew ReQuest are on top of the world.
The spectacular dance moves of Parris Goebel, Malaena Eagle, Colette Eagle, Bianca Ikinofo, Ngavaine Tearea, Reimy Jones, Brooke O'Neill, Starcia O'Neill and Oriana Whaiapu screened in 100 countries around the planet this week, when they backed Jennifer Lopez in the final of American Idol.
Some 40 million watched the New Zealand crew in the US alone, and a YouTube clip of the performance has already topped 12 million hits.
ReQuest is teaming up with the American superstar again next week for filming of her new single, Goin' In.
The Kiwi crew's leader Parris has been hired to choreograph Lopez's upcoming northern hemisphere tour, and she and six other ReQuest dancers have secured contracts with the world-famous Cirque Du Soleil for its new production honouring Michael Jackson's life and music.
Talking to Sunday News from America, Parris said she hoped ReQuest's success would inspire other young New Zealanders to follow their dreams.
"We want Kiwi kids to know that we can achieve anything ... the world is our stage," Parris said, via her father Brett Goebel – in the US to support the dance group's star-making performances.
"We are all from Auckland and you see us performing in front of 40 million people. If we can do it, so can you.
"Always believe in yourself, never stop chasing your dreams, surround yourself with positive people and work, work, work and then work some more.
"Life is what you make of it, so make it the life you've dreamed of."
Parris said she was "still on a high" after the Kiwi crew's American Idol appearance. Idol judge Lopez personally asked Parris, who she hired earlier this month to choreograph dance moves for her tour, to offer ReQuest the dance-backing gig for the final.
"She [Lopez] is a fantastic person," Parris said. "She wants everyone to feel her music when you hear her songs. She worked hard in the studio with us and it really showed in the performance."
Parris said the fact her dad, also ReQuest's manager, was backstage for the performance with Lopez had made the occasion even more special.
"He has been with me from day one, so I share all my success with him," Parris said.
A world record 132 million votes were cast by phone, text and online for Idol finalists Phillip Phillips (the eventual winner) and Jessica Sanchez.
The show was filmed at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre.
Brett described seeing his daughter, and her eight colleagues, dancing on one of the world's most-watched shows as an "amazing" family moment.
"I've got a smile going from ear to ear," he said. "If you see kids ... work hard ... I guess Idol was the fulfilment of all that effort coming together. It was amazing."
ReQuest will spend two days with Lopez in Los Angeles for filming of the official video clip for Goin' In.
"The girls will show up, Parris will do the choreography for it and away they go," Brett said.
"The song is pretty incredible. It will go to No1 pretty quick ... it is amazing ... things keep on getting better day by day."
The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas then await Parris and six of her ReQuest mates.
Parris will be one a handful of choreographers for Cirque Du Soleil's Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour's creative team.
The show will open at the plush Mandalay Bay Events Centre on May 13 next year.
Promotional material for the show describes it as "a riveting fusion of visuals, dance, music and fantasy that immerses audiences in Michael's creative world and literally turns his signature moves upside down".
Brett said: "Six of our girls have also been chosen [to dance] so we are in process of getting their contracts sent through now.
"These girls will have a two-year contract and will earn fantastic money and dance every day. Those things have all come about through Jennifer Lopez and Parris choreographing for her."
ReQuest was formed in 2007, based out of The Palace Dance Studio in Penrose and Hamilton. Parris is the lead choreographer. In 2009, they competed at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships (HHI) in Las Vegas – winning the Varsity Crews division. They also won the 2009 World Supremacy Battlegrounds (Varsity division) in Melbourne.
ReQuest returned to HHI in 2010, winning the Adult Crews division, ahead of Poreotics, who won season 5 of America's Best Dance Crew.