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    The Hidden History Of PARAPARA - por Ken-Ya Toru Sakai (English) 1 al 5

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    yorvick
    Supreme dancer

    The Hidden History Of PARAPARA - por Ken-Ya Toru Sakai (English) 1 al 5

    Mensaje por yorvick el Jue Dic 02, 2010 5:50 pm

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    no postear en este topic! si de sea opinar sobre esto u otras cosas crear un post en offtopic..
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    Chapter 1 What is parapara?


    - Now you too can understand parapara! -

    The author of this book mainly attended clubs and discos in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area (Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa), so please understand that this book is going to be written from a Tokyo point of view. There are countless clubs all over Japan, and each region and each individual club has its own characteristics, but that will be explained in later chapters.
    I, the author, did attend events in Nagoya for a while so I understand Nagoya clubs a little from what I personally experienced, but compared to the locals it's only scratching the surface. But on the other hand, as an outsider I was able to observe the scene objectively from a third party point of view.
    As for other parts of the country, I only visited a few times so I'll probably receive complaints saying "The club we went to wasn't like that at all!", but I'll gladly accept opinions like these if you have them.
    If I get too concerned with the small details it will be hard to see the big picture, and it will be nothing but jargon for people who are just beginning or who have never danced parapara and for the younger generation. So first I'm going to start with explaining as simply as possible what exactly parapara is.


    Parapara is...

    a dance of Japanese origin consisting mainly of upper body movements with your hands and arms combined with stepping left and right with your feet, set to club music, mainly eurobeat but also hyper techno, dance pop, and trance, in which each song has its own set choreography, which is danced with your friends and the other people who are at the dance club.

    Perhaps it can be compared to a modern-day energetic high-paced Bon Dance or Awa Dance?

    Generally parapara is danced at night clubs, so it is closely connected to the rise and fall in popularity of dance clubs and discos.

    Dance moves set to genres of dance music called Hi-NRG and eurobeat were the origin of parapara, and simply those dances can also be called parapara, but there are many other close relatives of parapara.

    The name changes slightly when parapara is danced to other music genres such as techno, dance pop, house and trance. Parapara danced to dance pop is called "yodore" (this name is mainly used in Western Japan; in Eastern Japan there is no set name and it is just simply called "dance pop"), parapara danced to techno is called "techpara", and parapara danced to epic trance is called "trapara."

    There is a type of rave style techno called "Juliana's techno" that is very close to the category of parapara but it is a totally different species and falls under the category of disco. It is a combination of freestyle dance using a folding fan and simple parapara-esque choreography.


    I've dropped the names of many different types of club music and you're probably feeling confused, plus it's nearly impossible to try and explain music through writing, but I'd like to explain everything bit by bit in the hopes that people will become interested.


    Parapara as we know it today is said to have been born in the mid 1980's, around the year 1985 in a disco in Shinjuku, Tokyo.


    This period is referred to as the first parapara boom. Simple choreography started to be set to a genre of music called Hi-NRG, the prototype of eurobeat,

    and became popular with the regulars at the disco and then little by little spread to discos in other areas.

    The staff at the disco started creating original choreography to songs in order to draw in more customers. Video technology was not advanced like today so the only way to learn routines was to learn them at the club.

    At the time nightlife was a status symbol and in order to earn the title of king of nightlife regulars begged the disco staff to teach them routines. Disco staff at the time were extremely popular. How well the staff were able to draw in customers was closely related to the disco's profits.

    There are several explanations as to why the name "parapara" came into use, and it's hard to conclude which one is correct. One explanation is that while dancing people used to chant "pa-ra, parapara." Another explanation is that it comes from the Japanese word "parapara" which means to sprinkle, and that people's hands while dancing were like rain sprinkling, but this explanation is a little far-fetched.

    Eurobeat songs are divided into the intro, the A-melo, the B-melo, the refrain, and then return back to the intro. Each part has its own separate choreography, and the five separate parts together form one song. The choreography for the intro is flashy and bold, the A-melo is more subdued, the B-melo is more exciting, then in the refrain the choreography gets interesting and plays with the song's title phrase.

    Whenever one of the words "you", "crazy", "baby", "me", "day", "ha!", "motion", "action", "cry", "time", or "do" comes up in a song's lyrics, there is a certain move associated with that word.

    For example, for the word "crazy" you twirl your two hands next to your head, for the word "time" you use your hands to form the letter "T" in front of your body, and for "ha!" you mimic the Kamehameha attack pose from the anime Dragonball. For the word "cry" you bring your hands to your face and mimic crying. Some are a play on words that sound similar to another word in Japanese. For example, the word "action" sounds similar to the Japanese word for "achoo!"(hakushon) so the choreography mimics a sneeze. If you pay attention to the lyrics and the choreography while people are dancing, you'll be able to see the aforementioned set moves.

    Also there are some set moves that are used without any relation to the music. One is a move where you sweep your right hand through the air in front of you from left to right, and then repeat going the opposite direction with your left hand. Another is a move called the aokin which looks like an wild animal trying to intimidate and protect its territory. (This move leaves an impression on beginners seeing it for the first time, and you can see it in songs such as "Kamikaze"). There are also poses that you hold for several counts that look like something from "Kamen Rider" or "Something Something Rangers." These are very characteristic moves that have nothing to do with the lyrics.

    The basic foot movement is a 2 step from left to right, but sometimes there is stepping that is complicated and impossible to predict, or times when you don't step at all or you go down on one knee. There are variations on stepping in order to match the song, and especially with the new generation of parapara stepping is getting more and more complicated. More and more complicated and unpredictable high speed moves almost like aerobics are being brought into parapara, and it's a big change from the simple, predictable and easily copied choreography of the old songs of the 90's.

    When someone is a good dancer, you can see the gracefulness and beauty of their movements even in simple stepping. But with beginner dancers and people who are a little dancing impaired, their upper body and lower body are discoordinated and their center of gravity is off which makes them look like a broken doll. Then there are people whose behavior is so strange that it makes you a little worried when you're watching them from the side. These people make for a good contrast in dancing skills so it's good to have them around. When these type of people get up on the otachidai(stage) to dance without understanding their own skill level, they get laughed at and pointed at and become the butt of people's jokes.

    I've tried to explain a lot but dance is something that is difficult to explain in writing. If you've never seen parapara, I suggest seeing the real thing once, even if it's just a Youtube video. Even if you don't know a thing about parapara, you can tell the difference between a good dancer and a poor dancer by the persuasiveness and intensity of their movements.


    Now I'm going to explain about the genres of club and disco music that were mentioned in the beginning of the chapter - hi-NRG, eurobeat, house, Juliana's techno, hyper techno, trance, epic trance, and dance pop.

    There are many kinds of club music, such as hip hop, R&B, reggae, rock, and techno, which itself is a big category. Those genres of music are the most mainstream, but this book is about parapara culture so I'm going to skip them.

    Songs used for parapara in general have vocals and use electronic instruments such as a synthesizer. Characteristically they are created completely synthetically except for the vocals and guitar. Songs, especially eurobeat songs, have a 4/4 rhythm and a fast tempo from 120 to 160 bpm.

    This is a cop out explanation, but the difference between eurobeat and hyper techno is indistinguishable unless you're used to hearing both. Non-paralists of course and beginners even I'm sure get frustrated and confused with not being able to tell the difference. Moreover, there is no guideline for clearly dividing the two genres, so depending on the person where they divide it may be different. It's a vague thing based on the song's melody and speed and the atmosphere of the song.


    However, when you've been listening to eurobeat and hyper techno for a long time you understand the criteria for dividing the two genres, and to an experienced person they seem like two completely different things. Eurobeat is characterized by cheerful melodies that uplift your mood. Hyper techno feels aggressive and gloomy, and the lyrics include a lot of violent phrases. Juliana's techno feels melancholy and even more aggressive, and it steals your heart with a sound like scissors cutting the air.


    Trance is such a wide genre and if you tried to break down all the categories there would be no end, but generally it's music gives you a feeling of the infinity of outer space opening before your eyes as the same melody repeats over and over. Epic trance has elements of pop music and vocals are the main focus. Epic trance later became the base for the short lived trance parapara, or trapara.

    Dance pop is literally just that, hit songs by famous singers that everyone listens to that routines are made for.


    In any case, vocals are the lifeline of any song that is choreographed, and I think it's safe to say that songs without vocals hardly ever get choreographed.

    Also, you should go to the CD shop and find CDs labeled as eurobeat or hyper techno and listen with your own ears for what the difference between the two is. There are a lot of songs that will make you wonder "What's the difference?" but record companies are not even able to divide the two!

    Keep in mind that depending on the circumstances, or depending on companies trying to sell CDs, definitions of genres can change so don't think too hard about it and it's fine to create your own division of the genres based on what you felt.

    As you're listening, you'll find your preferred type of music that speaks to you in a certain way. Even if you can't dance, the more you listen, the more you'll want to know the dances, and then you'll start to want to actually dance at the clubs and discos.

    Next in Chapter 2 I'll explain about the places where you can actually dance parapara!


    written by Ken-ya,translated by Heather


    _______________________
    YUKI.N>また図書館に・・・ BouKen DeShO DeSHO...
    OtaKraCKer MAIRIMasu!!!!!!!

    DANCE TO EXPRESS ,NOT TO IMPRESS!!!
    avatar
    yorvick
    Supreme dancer

    Re: The Hidden History Of PARAPARA - por Ken-Ya Toru Sakai (English) 1 al 5

    Mensaje por yorvick el Jue Dic 02, 2010 5:51 pm

    Chapter 2 - In what kind of places is parapara being danced?

    - What clubs and discos are like in case of Japan -

    - Let's imagine a dance floor

    Before you read this chapter I'll explain the difference between a club and a disco.

    I'll go in chronological order and start with discos. Please understand that for this explanation I mostly referred to Tokyo Metro rules and regulations, so in regards to other regions it may be slightly different.

    Discos open at around 7 in the evening and close at around 1 am. As for why they keep these business hours, discos are classified separately from the adult entertainment industry, and according to the regulations are not allowed to stay open until dawn. However if you formally apply to operate as a night club, within the hours ordained by law you are allowed to serve alcohol and have customers dance on the dance floor. Basically, the business hours are short but you can drink alcohol and have a good time dancing.

    Changing the subject to something a little less difficult, let's talk about what a disco looks like inside. The interior design is luxurious and the bright lighting makes the atmosphere inside cheerful. It's light enough that you could read a book. A lot of the customers are older business men in suits. The music selection is all genres - major songs that are easy to dance to that everyone knows. Mainly it's pop music with a lot of vocals.


    On the other hand, clubs open at around 10 at night and close a little after 5 am when the trains start running again. Clubs are classfied under the bar and cafe category and thus are allowed to stay open until dawn. However, clubs are considered "rental space" and are technically not allowed to open an event themselves with their own DJs. Thus some clubs will run an event company separately so they can have their own events.

    Lighting is dim inside of a club, and the music is loud and pounding. The music is so loud that it's hard to hold a conversation, so you have to speak close to people's ears or else they can't hear you. Clubs are popular with young people in their teens and twenties, and the type of music played and the type of people at the club are totally different depending on the event for that day of the week. Compared to discos, the music is divided up into precise genres, and while there may be some days where lots of major songs are played that anyone could enjoy, there are also days aimed at a certain demographic where a only one specific genre is played. Actually there are many clubs that advertise to one certain group of customers, and there are more and more clubs have their own unique choice of music.

    Do you have a grasp on the difference between the two now? Were you surprised that discos are categorized in the entertainment industry while clubs are categorized the same as bars in the food and drink industry?

    However, the line between the two is becoming more and more ambiguous, and upscale discos almost have been almost completely extinct since the end of the 1990's, so to summarize let's use this image:

    Disco: a place for lighthearted and wholesome socalization open until midnight so you can take the last train home.
    Club: open until dawn, a place for fun that's more intense and aggressive.


    Now onto the main topic. In the end this is a book about parapara. If I stray too far from the main topic and just explain about clubs and discos, the story will branch out too far and I won't be able to get back to the main topic, so from here I'm going to add in some talk on parapara.

    If you wanted to dance parapara you could play a CD on the stereo in your room and dance or you could use your car stereo, but generally parapara is danced in a club where there is a proper sound system and lighting. Without a doubt the excitement you get from dancing under the sparkling lights with the bass pounding is something special! Furthermore, go to a fancy club or disco with a gorgeous interior and you'll feel excited just by being there, although these places have greatly dropped in number. When a club has a good atmosphere, you notice that you start feeling good even on the way there! You feel antsy to get there, like you want to arrive even one minute or one second sooner. Even if you can't dance, there are times when just being there savoring that atmosphere is enough.

    When you go to a club like that there are all the other customers there as well, and when everyone has fun together the place goes wild, you have too many drinks, and you go crazy to the point that you are regretting it the next day with a bad hangover.

    Clubs that are really busy are fun just for the reason alone that there are a lot of people there, but when you think it through I think the real reason is that "Guys want to dance in front of girls, and girls want to dance in front of guys."

    If you dance at an event where the same-sex ratio is extremely high, even if the club is packed the club won't get that exciting no matter how many good songs are played.

    There is an excitement that comes from dancing because you want to stand out in front of the member of the opposite sex (or same sex) that you are interested in. Inside your head you're thinking "Look at me!"

    Lately you hear gyaru-o's who say "I go clubbing but I'm serious. I don't try and pick up girls." but all I can think is that they've been hit really hard on the head. They should get a thorough examination.

    These guys have no interest in going to a club where there are no girls right? What are their true intentions?

    With girls it's slightly different. They want to look beautiful and get attention, but this does not necessarily mean that they are looking to meet someone. Discerning what a girl is looking for takes many years of experience, and is extremely difficult until you have the ability to read the atmosphere of a situation.

    Either way, the fundamental principle is that people want to be popular with the opposite sex.

    - I want to stand out
    - I want to be popular
    - I want to be in a DVD
    - I want to be a good dancer
    - I want to be well known in the community

    This can all be summarized as "I want to be popular and get attention from the opposite sex." It's animal instinct so it can't be denied. Denying this would mean denying all the types of nightlife in the world.


    For these guys and girls with their sex drives in full throttle who love to be show-offs, the place to be is the otachidai!

    The otachidai is the raised platform or stage at the club. The people who dance on the otachidai are the famous parapara dancers from DVDs and videos and the veteran dancers who have been dancing for years and are known by everyone.

    To dance on the otachidai you don't need any special qualifications and you don't need to pay an extra fee, but that doesn't mean that a beginner should get up on the otachidai because they're playing the one song that you know. It's a dangerous move for beginners and it shows that they can't read the air. You'll be pulled off the otachidai, or after two songs you'll be out of songs that you know you'll have to dejectedly get off the stage, and behind your back there will be fingers being pointed and scornful laughter.

    People who dance on the otachidai are people who can dance more than several hundred songs and who have earned the recognition of their peers. It's a special place for people who have earned this "stamp of approval" from the community.

    It's a place where you can have an experience you normally can't get in everyday life, where anyone can be a star.

    The people who dance on the otachidai are hardworking people who have learned lots of parapara routines and who have spent long hours practicing to become good dancers, even though dancing parapara is a skill that is probably completely useless in everyday life.

    Being watched by many people is a condition for being on the otachidai of course. It's a matter of fact that people who don't know many songs and who dance poorly are going to be laughed at if they get on the otachidai! Do you think the dance floor is going to get excited being made to watch your poor dancing? People can't judge their own skill level and then get angry or sulk because they were criticized by other people, and I think it's reasonable to call that pitiful.

    However!

    All the people who are called good dancers now were not very good when they were beginners, but they overcame it and worked very hard until they were good enough to be an example to other people. So to all you young paralists wanting to be famous, don't get discouraged and do your best!


    So where do the people who aren't on the otachidai (or can't dance on the otachidai) dance?

    People who don't dance on the otachidai dance on the dance floor. This doesn't mean that you're settling for dancing on the dance floor because you can't dance on stage yet. Even the otachidai dancers dance on the dance floor often.

    Why?

    On the dance floor there is a sense of being a part of the group with everyone else, and you can have fun and go crazy with everyone unlike on the otachidai where it's like giving a dance recital. Often the otachidai is crowded and it's hard to dance without hitting the person next to you, so it's fun dancing on the floor where there's lots of room to dance.

    Generally most of the people at the dance club are dancing on the dance floor, but people don't dance facing whatever direction they please. They dance in a line or form a circle and dance. (DJs sometimes call this the "mystery circle.")

    The reason people started to dance in a circle is that during the first parapara boom during the 1980's before parapara videos or DVDs existed, the regulars at the discos wanted to do whatever they could to learn routines so they could stand out, and the circle came to be naturally as a way to learn the routines that could only be learned there at the club.

    It's not fun dancing with everyone facing different directions and you won't learn any dances that way either. It's a logical thing.

    Rather than dancing silently by yourself, there's also the fun of dancing with someone and having fun with the people around you, so being able to see the people dancing beside you and across from you is an important element.

    You don't have to be smiling the entire time, but when you're having fun you'll find yourself smiling without realizing it, and when a song you like is played you sometimes will start singing along with it while you're dancing. You're living in the moment so there's no problem with that.

    While you're dancing, everyone else's faces tend to come into your field of vision, and rather than looking sullen or looking like you're either angry or in a bad mood, looking cheerful or happy is universally much safer and you can prevent causing trouble that way.

    When you're dancing in a circle it's easy for other people's energy to rub off on you, and when someone is having fun it spreads to the people around them and before you know it everyone is getting into it. Unfortunately however, as of late having fun with the people around you is becoming less and less important and there are people who don't make a circle, enter their own world and dance facing a mirror. Or there are people who just copy the people dancing on the otachidai as if it was a dance recital. There are more and more people like this who make me wonder why they even go to a club.

    This is just my personal opinion, but the people who used to dance parapara, especially the veterans from the 2nd parapara boom(1993) and the 3rd parapara boom(2000), were good at getting the dance floor excited by matching their dancing with the other people around them and shouting things out along with the music ("hai hai!"). But the relatively young dancers (from 2005 on) don't know how to get the club excited and just dance the routines they learned at home without paying much attention to anything around them.

    People learn routines by watching parapara videos and DVDs, either commercial releases or club videos distributed at events. (I'll explain more about this in later chapters).
    There are young people now who in a way can't do anything other than what was on the video, who are too regimented and loyally reproduce the routines only. They have become copy robots. I have to think that this phenomenon is to blame for the lack of liveliness in the young dancers now.

    During the booms of the past (the 3rd boom of 1999-2000, and the 2nd boom of 1993), people used to fight for a place on the otachidai. People would elbow each other and get in each other's way on purpose, and girls would pull each other's hair and burn eachother with their cigarettes. It was a full on war. Young guys were full of vigor and would start fights with people for bumping them or getting in the way of their dancing. It was a spectacle that is unimaginable at the peaceful clubs of today.

    Nowadays people make room for eachother and apologize if they happen to bump someone and you can see a lot of of polite young ladies and gentleman, but whatever happened to the vigor of youth in their teens and twenties? Or is it just that everyone has matured into respectable adults?

    I think it's a good thing that everyone can have fun dancing, but the passion that is characteristic to night clubbing is lost and that feels a little sad. You go to a club because you want to have fun, so I think it's ok to remove the limiter and go a little wild.

    "On the DVD this is how they danced the song so it can't be danced any other way." "I can't dance to songs that don't have choreography." Don't you think that being fanatical like this is missing the point a little?

    You can't get the dance floor excited just by knowing several hundred songs! You can't be a star or hero that way either!

    Exciting the dance floor and making it fun for other people is not about how many songs you know. People who can dance a lot of songs but who can't have fun won't leave an impression on anyone and won't make any friends.

    "It's fun learning more and more songs, I don't need to make friends, and I'm not the type to go wild." People who say this are free to do what they want to do, but actually these people are bad at being fun people and can't make friends, but at heart they really wish to be popular. Saying "Learning lots of routines is fun" is being used as an excuse to run away from facing the fact that they are lacking something in their personality.

    If that's so, what's the point in going to a club and dancing in front of everyone? You could set up a sound system in your home and dance there.

    Of course if you don't know a certain amount of routines parapara events are not going to be much fun. But when all you care about is learning routines and you forget about having fun, aren't you getting the means and the end backwards?

    So in my personal opinion, rather than becoming a routine learning robot, learn the basics really well even if it's just a few songs, dance those few songs with all your heart, enjoy the atmosphere of the club, and then make the club fun for other people and you will stand out and you'll make friends. This is what I want to tell young dancers!

    - If you don't learn lots and lots of songs you can't dance on the otachidai and you can't stand out.

    - But if you become too concerend with learning routines and don't know how to have fun, you won't leave an impression and you won't make friends.

    - But if you don't learn routines, parapara events aren't fun.

    When you look at it like this it seems like a contradiction, but as you go to parapara events you will find your niche and you will find what works best for you so don't worry!
    It will be valuable experience in refining your skills in picking up subtle clues in a social situation.


    I'll give some hints for beginner dancers that I think the veteran dancers will agree with as well.

    - I can't dance well.
    - I can't learn routines.
    - I don't know many songs.
    - I don't stand out.
    - I can't dance on the otachidai.

    I have the wonder drug for these worries!

    "Learn just the major songs, the overplayed songs, the classic songs, and practice them in front of a mirror until you can dance them well."

    This is all you have to do.

    If you just do this and ignore the flood of new songs being turned out every week, you'll be able to enjoy parapara at your own pace!


    written by Ken-ya,translated by Heather


    _______________________
    YUKI.N>また図書館に・・・ BouKen DeShO DeSHO...
    OtaKraCKer MAIRIMasu!!!!!!!

    DANCE TO EXPRESS ,NOT TO IMPRESS!!!
    avatar
    yorvick
    Supreme dancer

    Re: The Hidden History Of PARAPARA - por Ken-Ya Toru Sakai (English) 1 al 5

    Mensaje por yorvick el Jue Dic 02, 2010 5:53 pm

    Chapter 3 How do you learn parapara?

    - First let's learn at home -


    How to learn parapara. First to outline,


    1. Buy commercially released parapara DVDs and videos and practice while you watch them.

    (or get a hold of club DVDs produced by parapara events and circles and learn them).


    2. Have your friends teach you.


    3. Go to a parapara club and watch the people who are good at dancing and use them as an example.


    This the only way. I can't think of any other ways to learn parapara. I can't imagine putting a routine into writing and learning it that way...

    I'll break it down from number 1 so that it's easy for beginners to understand too.


    1. If you go to a big CD store such as Tower Records or HMV in Japan, parapara DVDs are sold in the dance music section so pick one up and take it to the register! Commercially released DVDs are best for beginners. Fan made DVDs produced by clubs have huge variations in quality of dancing, song selection (songs that are played all the time or that never get played), etc so these DVDs are better for intermediate level dancers.


    2. There's a Japanese proverb that says "To see once is better than to hear one hundred times."

    (But if you learn from a friend who is bad at dancing it will come back and bite you)


    3. I understand not wanting to go to parapara clubs until after you've learned how to dance, but watching good dancers is the best way to improve!

    For both beginners and advanced dancers, repeating dances over and over along with the video is the best way to learn routines.

    Like I explained in Chapter 1, eurobeat and hyper techno songs are divided into the intro, a-melo, b-melo, refrain, and then return to the intro. Rather than trying to learn a song all at once, breaking it down and learning the choreography for each separate part is much more manageable. If you have a large mirror while you're practicing you can play the song and check your dancing. You can check for any parts that are awkward, off balance, or need fixing, and your dancing will improve!

    The easiest DVDs for beginners to learn are avex trax's "Parapara Stadium" and "Parapara Paradise" series. On these DVDs are included many famous songs that get played frequently at parapara events at clubs and discos, and the dancers are the respected Parapara Allstars so the dancing is superior.

    If you accidentally come across a "So-called Parapara Circle's Independent Homemade for our own self-satisfaction DVD", and are made to watch the sketchy looking dancing of people who don't know the ways of the world while your judgment skills are still unripe, you might get confused and think "let's use this is as an example to learn from."


    Of course there are many DVDs made by clubs, discos and event circles that are of extremely high quality. But for beginners, besides it being hard to know where to get a hold of these DVDs, the personal tastes and peculiarities of the group making the DVD come across strong so you might end up learning rare songs that never get played at events. This is why I can't recommend club DVDs to beginners.

    First learn the basic songs and then move onto the next step, so let's not rush.

    When you learn parapara from a friend, I apologize if that friend is a very good dancer and knows lots of songs and is even very knowledgable in parapara history, but there are a lot of people who are best not to learn from. There are people whose taste in music is very one-sided, or people who act as if they know everything but they aren't very experienced either. Or if you are a beginner and a female, people might have a different motive in mind when they say "Sure I'll teach you parapara."

    You should start with learning the basic songs by yourself and build a foundation first. The basic songs that are on the commercial releases have simple movements and simple choreography, and there is a lot of repetition of the standard parapara moves so I think they are easy to learn. Once, after a lot of trial and error, you've learned to dance a few songs, and even 10 songs is fine, muster up your courage and try going to a parapara event!


    Without a doubt you will sink like a rock!

    Knowing 10 or 50 songs means you'll only be able to dance a few minutes out of the several hour long event. Especially now as parapara's history keeps getting longer and longer, proportionately the number of songs in existence has grown too, so if you wanted to dance the entire time at an event you'd have to know an impossibly huge number of songs.

    But if you go to an event you'll be able to see other guys and girls about the same age as you who are so good that you can use them as a model. "I want to stand out like them!" "I want to have lots of friends like them!" I think you'll find new motivation after the event.

    The transistion from not being able to dance anything to learning the first one to ten songs is extremely difficult. But after the first 10 songs increasing your repertoire to 20 or 30 songs is not that difficult. Once you've learned 50, you can learn 100 songs or 200 songs no problem.

    Once you've learned the standard parapara moves you'll start to understand that each parapara routine is just a different combination of the standard moves.


    When I myself first started parapara, it took me several months just to learn 10 or so songs, and I was ready to quit. But! Seeing my friend who had started parapara at the same time as me learning more and more songs and having lots of fun at parapara events made me think, "I came to the club to have fun so it's a waste to be sitting in the corner spacing out, just gazing at the popular people." And that made me want to try harder.

    I had my friend teach me the parts of songs that I couldn't understand from watching the video and I got the basic parapara moves down. I picked out songs from the DVDs I owned that sounded familiar or that were easy to learn and focused on increasing the amount of songs I could dance. I skipped songs that I didn't like the song or that had difficult routines. By doing this, before I knew it I was learning at least one new song a day, and 30 to 50 songs a month.


    The basic parapara movements started to become natural to me and the songs became familiar to my ears, and started remembering the songs' titles and could even tell you what CD each song was on.

    Basically I became knowledgable about parapara.



    Once I became knowledgeable about the music I got even more and more into it, and I got faster at learning songs, and within a year of starting parapara I had learned more than 500 songs.

    This was right in the middle of the 3rd parapara boom of 1998 to 2000, when being able to dance parapara was a status symbol. This was a time when no matter what kind of person you were, if you could dance a lot of songs you were in the spotlight, so the motivation to practice came naturally.

    (Now 10 years after the boom has passed, even if you put in a lot of work the returns aren't much so even the young people will have trouble finding motivation I think...)

    How fast you are at learning songs and how many songs you can learn is different for each person, but if you have songs that you like and can link your desire to learn those songs and your desire to be noticed by the opposite sex, you'll start getting good at learning routines just like that.


    However, parapara events are normally 4 to 6 hours long.

    One eurobeat song played once through is usually no more than a minute and a half long. Events are divided up between eurobeat time, hyper techno time, freestyle Juliana's techno time and sometimes trance time. Plus, it's not only the major songs that are played. Sometimes maniac songs that you never hear or old 2nd boom songs get played as well. Learning the major songs from the commercially released DVDs is just not enough.

    Often beginners get discouraged by the sheer number of songs, and there are many people that quit for that reason. But these people fall into this dilemma because they try recklessly to learn too many songs at once. What they are doing is different from learning the basic songs necessary for building a base and starting to dance parapara. You should always check where your skill level is at before moving on to the next step.

    As you continue dancing parapara you'll start to figure out which era of eurobeat you like best and which artists you like best. (I'll explain about the different eras of parapara from Chapter 5 on. It has a history of over 20 years from it's birth.) You'll start to understand if you like eurobeat parapara best or if actually you like hyper techno more.

    As I explained, I started out with learning eurobeat parapara, and after I had learned over 500 songs suddenly I started having an affair with techno. The reason is that the music's wavelengths agreed with me. I was drawn in by the agressive rhythms of Juliana's techno and hyper techno, and from that point on I haven't learned one single new eurobeat song.

    But it's funny how you never forget a song you've learned once. If you haven't danced it for a long time you forget a few parts, but when you hear the song played your body automatically starts dancing the routine. From then on I was split into two factions: the eurobeat I had learned up until then and the hyper techno I started from that point on.



    When I find a song or a genre that makes me instinctively think "This is a good song, this makes me want to dance," the number of songs I can dance will increase automatically and I naturally make an effort to dance well. It's like the Japanese proverb that says "We tend to be good at those things we like."


    I've seen a lot of people who start to hate parapara or get bored and quit because they keep learning more and more new songs out of a sense of duty when they don't even like eurobeat. They don't even like the music or the club atmosphere, but they think "I need to go to events! Being at home alone is depressing so I need to go and be around people!" They were only going to clubs I think out of a strange addiction and sense of obligation that comes from a need to have someone recognize their existence.

    It's a hobby, it's different from work. You should dance parapara because you like it and continue it because it's fun. Because you like it you should try to dance better and better, and dream of becoming a star, and and fully relish the excitement of dancing in front of everyone!

    written by Ken-ya,translated by Heather


    _______________________
    YUKI.N>また図書館に・・・ BouKen DeShO DeSHO...
    OtaKraCKer MAIRIMasu!!!!!!!

    DANCE TO EXPRESS ,NOT TO IMPRESS!!!
    avatar
    yorvick
    Supreme dancer

    Re: The Hidden History Of PARAPARA - por Ken-Ya Toru Sakai (English) 1 al 5

    Mensaje por yorvick el Jue Dic 02, 2010 5:55 pm

    Chapter 4 What kind of people dance parapara?

    The fashion and the people


    What kind of people come and dance parapara?


    We've learned that there are a lot of people on the dance floor and there is a stage or platform called the otachidai.

    Also we've learned that you learn routines at home before going to events.


    Now then, what kind of people are at the club?

    What do they wear, what age group are they?


    People who don't normally go to dance clubs might have an image of regular club-goers as experienced partiers and scary people who are quick to start fights. And girls who go to clubs are seen as girls full of sexual appeal who have been around the block a few times and who don't associate with normal guys. But don't you think these are prejudiced ideas growing out of your own insecurity that are running ahead of you?


    Actually it's not like this at all!


    There are a handful of people who are a little weird in the head, but for the most part it's people who work day jobs, or are students, or are part-time workers, and the only thing different about them compared to anyone else is that they go clubbing regularly, but otherwise they are normal people.


    It is a night club and there are members of the opposite sex there, so people may dress up a little more than they normally would. Dressing like a slob and not caring how you look to other people even though you're going out on the town shows a lack of common sense. Dressing up to go out is a matter of fact.


    Clubs' reputations as flashy places precede itself. The people who do go to clubs are a little flashier compared to the respectable people who lead normal everyday lives, especially in the case of parapara because there is a strong connection between gyaru and gyaru-o fashion and parapara. Because of this, a lot of the people who start parapara are young gyaru and gyaru in their teens.

    (Gyaru is a type of Japanese street fashion characterized by blonde dyed hair and tan skin, sexy flashy clothes and lots of makeup, and gyaru-o is the male version of a gyaru.)


    But a lot of people who have never been to a parapara event have the wrong impression that "parapara = gyaru." That is because the image of parapara from the 3rd boom of 1998 - 2000 is still strongly influencing people.



    "Why is there an image of gyarus dancing parapara?" you might be wondering so I'll explain.

    From the late 90's to about the year 2000, young people could get away with copying the fashion exactly the way it was listed in fashion magazines. Compared to now where there's an emphasis on creating your own individual style, then people were still thinking, "Trends are number 1! Copy the trends!"

    That's why the gyaru and gyaru-o population then was so large that it's not even comparable to what it is today. Back then there were literally herds of gyaru and gyaru-o in brightly colored outfits everywhere you looked!


    I digress a little, but gyaru-o of the late 90's were not the thin weak looking gyaru-o of today. They had bulging muscles and tattoos and were quick to start fights so there were always brawls happening at the clubs. And the gyarus who were drawn to these intense men were full of youthful vigor, and it was a time when there were always fights happening over who touched whose man.

    If you went to a club dressed conservatively there's no doubt you would feel ashamed and oppressed.


    (This atmosphere changed after the year 2000 when suddenly gyaru fashion became mainstream, and a large number of the normal population started wearing gyaru and gyaru-o fashion. This led to a general decrease in the quality of the look, and by 2001 the gyaru boom had started dying down.)


    The gyaru and gyaru-o boom was covered by the media over and over again, and record companies and the mass media created the image of parapara and gyaru as a set. In magazines many articles appeared saying "A gyaru who doesn't dance parapara isn't a gyaru", and the image was created.


    Without realizing it, the image that "parapara = gyaru" became embedded in everyone's minds.


    Now nine years later in the year 2009, the parapara industry has slowed down but still there are a lot of teenage gyaru and gyaru-o who come in as beginners. But they are not the gyaru of before, who dressed so flashy as to intimidate other people. Today they are fashionable and choose and wear clothes that suit their tastes, and generally as a fashion gyaru and gyaru-o has calmed down a lot.

    On top of that, the parapara population itself has drastically decreased, and parapara events continue to segmentalize more and more in accordance with the changing times and with customers' taste in music. There are some events that play nostalgic oldies for the people who have been dancing parapara for 20 years, and there are events for the 3rd boom generation(now in their late 20's and early 30's) which are almost like class reunions. As a rule all people who dance parapara are not young kids in their teens.

    It may be true that the oldies events are wilder than the new events. (There is a good turnout for these events, and everyone gets into it, and it's a chance for these madames and gentlemen in their late 30's or older to take out all their frustrations from work.)


    Even at the regular monthly events that have been around for almost 10 years, it's not the case that they are totally taken over by gyaru and gyaru-o. These events are visited by a diversity of people of all ages and all fashions. It ranges from people in their late teens to people over 40.


    As for the dress, you are not required to wear a suit and you don't have to try and dress young. Everyone wears what they like to wear. Unexpectedly there are a lot of normal people at events, and the days of being oppressed for how you dress like during the 3rd boom are over.

    Young people who have just started parapara or people who have no experience at all won't feel that scared or uncomfortable at an event. The number of normal serious people has grown, and you don't have to be worried about your safety at events. Clubbers with bulging muscles that make you think of the movie "300" have disappeared and there are hardly fights and brawls anymore. Before you know it, the scene has changed into place where you can go to have fun safely and easily.

    However, unfortunately the generation of trend followers has ceased to be taken in by not only parapara but any of the flood of fashion and music trends. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a sad thing....

    The fascination of clubbing, which is the passion, excitement, and sensualism, is certainly disappearing. A long time ago it stopped being a place where you could meet a nice guy or girl, get wrapped up in the savage enthusiasm, and forget about everyday life and return to the wild.


    If people would at least put effort into the fashion, if they put as much effort in as people did back in the day, some of the passion of the past might rekindle I think...

    People's mental states are influenced by what they are wearing. Like the groups of gyaru and gyaru-o during the 3rd boom showing off the same bright warning colors, or the people wearing thousands of dollars worth of brand name fashion in the 2nd boom, subconsciously you start to want to stand out and become aggressive!

    This is not supposed to be an explanation focused on the contrast between the 3rd parapara boom of around the year 2000 and today, but as a supplement I could add that gyaru and gyaru-o were not in existence yet during the 2nd parapara boom(1993). During this era people from their late 20's to their 40's dressed in expensive brand name clothes from head to toe, didn't feel a bit guilty, and took pride in being at the forefront of Tokyo nightlife while dancing parapara at the disco!

    There are huge differences in the types of people and the fashion depending on the era so I can't sum everything up into one statement saying "This is parapara!" But if I was forced to sum it up, I would say:

    - 1st parapara boom (mid-1980's) - surfer fashion and suits style

    - Juliana's boom (early 1990's) - suits style

    - 2nd parapara boom (1992-1994) - over the top extravagant brand name fashion

    - 3rd parapara boom (1998-2000) - gyaru, gyaru-o fashion

    - today - no fashion boom, personal taste

    I guess that's about it...


    Now if I were to explain the history of parapara while mixing in explanations on the fashion and the people, you will have a much deeper understanding. So from the next chapter on I'd like to go era by era, and while touching on the people and the atmosphere plus what was happening in the world at the time, I'll add in what I experienced and learned personally myself, and explain the history of parapara.


    written by Ken-ya,translated by Heather


    based on real happened in Japan


    ※I wrote this novel last year in 2009.


    _______________________
    YUKI.N>また図書館に・・・ BouKen DeShO DeSHO...
    OtaKraCKer MAIRIMasu!!!!!!!

    DANCE TO EXPRESS ,NOT TO IMPRESS!!!
    avatar
    yorvick
    Supreme dancer

    Re: The Hidden History Of PARAPARA - por Ken-Ya Toru Sakai (English) 1 al 5

    Mensaje por yorvick el Jue Dic 02, 2010 5:58 pm

    Chapter 5 - Read this and you'll understand the history of parapara

    - the first parapara boom to the Julianas' boom -





    The history of parapara and the atmosphere of the time (mid-1980's to 1993)


    Eurobeat/parapara and Juliana's techno/hyper techno/techpara are deceivingly similar, plus some of the crowd overlaps and often both genres are played at the same parapara event, so here I'm going to refer to them both as parapara.

    Also, as I mentioned before, at the time of this boom I was only 12 or 13 years old so watching tv specials on discos and Juliana's Tokyo on the late night TV program "TONIGHT" was the most I could do and there was no way I could go out clubbing, so the following explanation is going to part hearsay and part guessing. However, I have heard stories over and over again from people who actually were at the clubs at the time so I think I have a good grasp on the big picture of the scene.



    - the mid-1980's to 1989 the 1st parapara boom


    First, I keep using the word "disco", because at the time there weren't clubs in the sense that we have clubs today and discos were mainstream. I explained the difference between a disco and a club in an earlier chapter, but this difference changes a bit depending on the era so I'll explain once more.


    Simple routines started to be made for Hi-NRG songs, a variety of pop music that was often played at discos at the time that is the ancestor of modern eurobeat . (Depending on the person or the region, sometimes this music is also referred to as eighties).


    The Hi-NRG of the time didn't have fast BPMs and an intense rhythm like the eurobeat of today. It was characterized by a deep feeling and an upbeat tempo, the lyrics were full of phrases that get stuck in your head, and the quality of each song was very high. If you listen to both and compare, Hi-NRG songs are dense, or full of flavor, so to speak. The choreography is not complicated and uses simple movements, and sometimes only the chorus part is choreographed. It's completely different from the complicated and busy routines of today.


    The song that became the origin of all parapara was the then popular song "Take on Me" by the A-ha. People at the disco started to dance by fluttering their hands along with the lyrics of the song, and some people would match their dancing with eachother. This dance took off and spread to every disco in the Tokyo area. It spread from this birthplace of parapara, the discos in Shinjuku, Tokyo, to the high class discos such as King and Queen in Aoyama and King and Queen in Azabu Juuban. The staff at each disco started creating their own routines to songs, and customers went to discos so they could see the routines and learn them.


    This was a time when there was no such thing as lesson videos for learning at home. VCRs had only just started to become common in people's homes and it was still a long time before video cameras would be sold in stores, so there was no way to create original videos.


    The people who attended the Shinjuku discos wore mostly surfer fashion and "American casual" fashion, and they were the forerunners of the group that would later be called "Teamers." Although during the 1990's the Teamers would be known as an infamous street gang, at the time the group was like a social club, a group of people who liked going out together.


    At the high class discos, most famously King & Queen and Maharaja, there was a strict dress code. The staff all wore tuxedos and the customers all wore suits, and anyone who disrupted the classy atmosphere of the disco was not allowed in.


    Already at this time, teenagers were being excluded from the nightlife in the Roppongi and Azabu area of Tokyo, which was classy and aimed at working adults. Teenagers and students hungry for nightlife gathered in Shinjuku and Shibuya in Western Tokyo, where casual discos that allowed people to enter wearing surfer fashion started to flourish. Even now this tendency still remains to an extent, but nightlife's power as a status symbol has diminished and pretty much anyone can get into clubs without a complaint nowadays. Teenagers go out in Roppongi and Azabu without a second thought, and the separation of the different areas in town has greatly collapsed.


    However, during the time of the first parapara boom going out at night was closely linked to delinquent culture, and it was the complete opposite of today's "Everyone should go out and have fun" atmosphere. It was a status symbol to have money and be fashionable, to have good looks and be popular with the opposite sex, and to be a strong fighter.


    There was a sense of pride that the newest fads were born from Tokyo and Tokyo-ites, and there was no place for people who came out of the countryside.


    As I was researching, I discovered that first there is not a lot of data on this time period, and that strangely there was no succession between the first parapara boom and the second. The customers who had been religiously attending the discos during the first boom made a clean break.


    There is hardly anyone still around from that time period since the dancers from that boom would be in their early 40's now if they had been 20 at the time. Plus for reasons I stated earlier there is no video footage. This was a time when there was no high speed internet or digital cameras. All we have is word of mouth and a few photographs that survived, so it is rather difficult to get a good grasp on this time period.


    Parapara naturally came to be in the discos in the late 1980's and spread all over the country, but after an accident at the Roppongi disco Turia on January 5, 1988 where a falling light killed 3 people, customers stopped going to the once popular high-class discos and the number of discos started decreasing. Along with this the first parapara boom quickly started to die out.


    The self-styled forerunners of the nightlife scene had lost a place to go, and began to look for a new place to play.



    1991-1993 Juliana's techno boom


    At the same time that both the high-class discos all over Tokyo and the first parapara boom were facing their demise triggered by the accident at the brand new disco Turia in Roppongi, one after another large scale discos started opening up on the waterfront along Tokyo Bay aiming for the next boom. It was the Tamachi and Shibaura areas, which had been redeveloped and had large open areas of land left.

    Juliana's Tokyo was one of these discos. It was characterized by huge otachidais for dancing, sexy outfits that leave nothing to the imagination called body-cons (from the word body conscious), colorful feathered fans that started being called Juri-sen (Juliana's fans). It drew the attention of the mass media with it's unique image and became well-known all over the country.


    The music played there was rave techno that came to be called Juliana's techno. Different to Hi-NRG and eurobeat which have a lot of pop vocals and a cheery sound, Juliana's techno is characterized by a gloomy oppressive rave sound. It's music that makes you feel a chill like cold iron.

    Juliana's Tokyo was also picked up as a symbol of the prosperous times of the bubble economy, and the mass media produced an image that Juliana's=bubble. But actually the bubble economy burst in 1991 and Juliana's is post-bubble, so it's not the fact that it was the good economy that made Juliana's become so popular.


    However, in people's minds the feeling of the bubble times was still lingering in the air, and the mass media took advantage of this feeling and used it as a marketing strategy. "Sure, the bubble = Juliana's! Why not? It's fun!"


    Now then, at first it was only one small portion of the customers wearing really showy outfits at Juliana's, and when it first opened in 1991 it didn't receive much exposure. It was a semi-trendy disco that office ladies would get a little dressed up and go to after work, but it would become really extreme after the boom hit in 1992.


    Some of the crazier Juliana's fashion looked like a strip show. Girls were one step away from being completely naked wearing pasties and string panties. Other parts of the country such as Nagoya and Kyoto were strongly inspired by the Juliana's boom and the discos with locations there such as King & Queen and Maharaja were even more extreme apparently.

    Men's fashion followed a similar progression. In the beginning it was salarymen in suits coming straight from work, but at the second half of the boom in 1993 a culture of wearing flashy sequined stage outfits by Luna Mattino and Gianni Versace that would even pop singers would be surprised by had started.


    This showy fashion was apparently pioneered by the high-class discos, most famously the disco called Roppongi Area. The real story is that it was brought to Juliana's through the coming and going of customers, then riding on the boom it was reproduced on a larger scale.


    The feathered fans that come to mind as soon as Juliana's is mentioned too actually come from the Maharaja disco in Gion, Kyoto. Gion is the geisha district in Kyoto, and it is said that the fad was started by maikos(young geishas) that attended Maharaja carrying feathered fans.


    Over the top, flashy, bubbly fashion is thought of as coming from Juliana's Tokyo, but that is a story that was reconstructed and created afterwards.


    As for the customers ages, the men were in their mid-20's or above, averaging around 30. The women were a little younger than that, mostly in their mid-20's. It was a place for people who had money to spare, with no place for teenagers, part-timers or high schoolers like today.


    Thanks to the mass media's influence, it became a status symbol just to go to Juliana's, and just to get in guys had to pay 5000 to 6000 yen! Going inside, getting a seat and having some drinks could cost 30,000 per person, and if you wanted to go into the VIP room, they say you paid in units of 100,000 yen!


    It's an unimaginable amount of money compared to the 1000 yen or 2000 yen entrance prices of today. Even so, the place was packed everyday supposedly and that makes me very envious.


    Lines formed on the way from Tamachi station to Juliana's and there were girls changing into body-con outfits in the train station bathrooms. You could see impressive scenes such as these broadcast on tv at the time.


    However, this lovely and exalted era lasted only briefly. Maybe it was from too much exposure from the mass media, but from 1993 people got the wrong idea that you could see girls stripping there and more and more rude people and misguided people the countryside started going, and because of this gradually attendance started to drop.


    They gave out large numbers of discount tickets and tried to get more customers to come but they were unable to get good influential customers like before. Bad influence on the club accelerated and they were only able to attract customers who didn't want to spend much money, and the quality of customers went down and down...


    The regular customers who were disappointed in Juliana's Tokyo which had lost its status symbol as the leading edge of the era started to leave one after the other looking for the next hangout. They returned to discos that had been popular in the 1980's such as King & Queen and Maharaja and also Roppongi Area, and in 1993 this would bloom again as the 2nd parapara boom!


    Even at the height of the Juliana's boom, there were discos along Tokyo Bay (such as Urayasu Eden Rock, etc) that were operating parapara events still playing hi-NRG and eurobeat. These became coals to light the new boom as well. That's the reason why 2nd boom eurobeat is referred to as "Wangan (bay) eurobeat."


    Also, at the end of the Juliana's boom, new techno music started to become poppier. Cheerful melodies and vocals like you would find in eurobeat started to be mixed in, and the first songs of the genre that would later be called "hyper techno" were born.


    Hyper techno as well as Juliana's techno were brought into Tokyo's high class discos by customers who came back after the Juliana's boom. From this point on, techno started to be played at parapara events as a relative of eurobeat.


    The ten year period between the mid-1980's and 1994 was interesting because it was full of powerful music movements. In connection to this, the disco scene became very lively, and it was a time period when you could feel the life force in the world! Compared to the lack of spirit and energy today and the situation where people are tired of even going out, I'm very jealous of the people who were in their 20's enjoying the nightlife then.


    In Chapter 6 I'm going to focus on disco culture's final bang, the 2nd parapara boom.



    written by Ken-ya,translated by Heather


    based on real happened in Japan


    ※I wrote this novel last year in 2009.


    _______________________
    YUKI.N>また図書館に・・・ BouKen DeShO DeSHO...
    OtaKraCKer MAIRIMasu!!!!!!!

    DANCE TO EXPRESS ,NOT TO IMPRESS!!!

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    Re: The Hidden History Of PARAPARA - por Ken-Ya Toru Sakai (English) 1 al 5

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