Parris Goebel partners with Nike to celebrate dancers as athletes
Award-winning Kiwi-Samoan choreographer Parris Goebel is redefining what it means to be an athlete in her Nike x Dance: Own the Floor campaign. The creative powerhouse told Complex she believes all movement, including dance, is sport.
“I don’t think people really understand what it takes to put together the projects that I do,” she said. “We train and we create every day up to the show, the video, or whatever it is. It’s on the same level as any other athlete.”
The renowned choreographer is recognised for her stunning works on the Savage X Fenty shows, Jennifer Lopez’s 2020 Super Bowl performance and Justin Bieber’s Sorry music video. It’s no surprise Nike chose Goebel as one of their global catalysts for dance and sport.
Nike’s partnerships typically involve professional athletes. But this time, they’ve partnered with women such as ‘Hot Girl Coach’ Megan Thee Stallion, instructor Tunde Oyeneyin and Chinese dancer Da Ting.
Goebel’s Own the Floor campaign video encompasses strength and resilience. The proud Polynesian dancer believes this opportunity has come full circle from dancing in Air Force 1s in her early days to now collaborating with Nike.
“It’s extremely emotional and surreal,” she said. “[Nike] has really inspired me and the way I work, the way I dream and the way I train. It’s an honour and truly one of the proudest moments of my career so far.”
The Own the Floor campaign is about “inviting everyone to own their floor”.
“To me, that means owning your story, owning your identity or your style, owning the way you move, and being unapologetic about it,” Goebel said.
And she hopes to help the next generation stay true to themselves and their heritage.
“I’m proud to be representing Polynesians, women, dancers, and dreamers all around the world,” she said.
“You know, [young Parris] never saw girls that looked like her being celebrated. She never saw Polynesian women in these global campaigns, and I feel like representation is important,” Goebel told Hype Bae.
“It’s about celebrating the things you thought made you weird or an outcast and actually using them to your advantage through movement and dance. And you don’t have to be a dancer to be a part of the journey and be part of the family.”
Goebel’s success story stems from her being herself and realising her passion at a very young age. At 15-years-old, Goebel left school to pursue her dancing career. Since then she’s collaborated with huge artists such as Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Ciara and Sam Smith, to name just a few.
Her secret to success is to “just work”.
“I’m not technically trained. I’m very self-taught in everything that I do,” Goebel told Complex.
“There’s no rule book on how to be a great dancer. Whatever circumstances you’re in, you can train no matter what. You know, for me, there weren’t any hip-hop schools around for me to train. So I would just watch MTV and dance in my room.”