Parris Goebel gets New Year Honour ahead of massive 2020 for the dance star

Parris Goebel doesn't bother with New Year's resolutions.

"I just make goals all the time," the 28-year-old dancer/choreographer extraordinaire says.

"I feel like I was extremely blessed to be able to tick off most of my wish list at a really young age. I found I had to keep making new goals as soon as I was ticking all those dreams off."

It's a strategy that is clearly working for Goebel, who this year was tasked with helping create Rihanna's show at New York Fashion Week, was named as New Zealand's entertainment and cultural curator for Expo 2020 in Dubai, and was personally recruited by Jennifer Lopez to choreograph her highly anticipated Super Bowl halftime show.

Now she can end the year by adding Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit to her CV, after being recognised in the 2020 New Year Honours list for services to dance.

"I was in America with my dad when he received the email. He read it out loud and we both just lost it," she says.

"I'm still kind of in the early stages of my career, so to be given that honour at this age feels like a huge blessing."

Goebel's extraordinary rise can be traced back to 2009, when her all-girl ReQuest dance crew won the varsity section of the World Hip Hop Dance Championship. The next year, they took out the adult section. The Royal Family, also led by Goebel, then went on to claim the megacrew title in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Both dance crews would find fame in the music video for Justin Bieber's 2015 hit Sorry, which with 3.2 billion views on YouTube was the sixth most-watched music video of the decade. 

But it was well before Bieber, back in 2012, when a YouTube clip of Goebel caught J.Lo's eye. The diva asked the young dancer if she would choreograph for her world tour. 

"She gave me my first job in the industry — she really took me under her wing and was so kind to me. We've created such amazing things together."

The pair have kept in touch over the years, and in October, Goebel was asked if she was available to work with Lopez on her Super Bowl routine.

"She reached out directly and was like, 'Let's do this together.'

"It was kind of a full-circle moment to be able to start with her and then to reconnect and do the Super Bowl together is really, really special. It feels right. She's just awesome to work with."

As soon as the Super Bowl is over in February, Goebel will get to work on Expo 2020, which starts in October and runs for six months. 

"We have auditions coming up in April for the next generation show which we're going to be putting on," she says.

"We'll be looking for talented young singers and dancers and spoken word artists all over New Zealand to put together a really special and unique and moving show."

Goebel says her aim for Expo is to break down stereotypes about New Zealand. She has already run her plans past Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who described them as "spectacular". 

"As I travel, I firsthand get to see what people think of us and how little they know of New Zealand," she says.

"In the [entertainment] industry they're starting to understand how much talent we have from New Zealand, so for me it's my job to put that out there for the world to see. We have so much raw talent and we're such great storytellers, so it feels right to put that on an international stage for people to embrace and be inspired by."

Goebel is currently enjoying a rare break at home in Auckland for two weeks over Christmas, before jetting back to Miami to continue work on the Super Bowl halftime show.

"I get really, really homesick," she admited.

"My whole family is here, I have lots of nieces and nephews — they have my whole heart.

"There's this real inner peace I feel when I come home; I know I'm back where I belong. I get in touch with my roots again."