Para Para (パラパラ, "Para-Para" or "ParaPara") is a synchronized group dance that originated in Japan. Unlike most club dancing and rave dancing there are specific synchronized movements for each song much like line dancing. Para Para is said to have existed since the early 1980s when European countries started selling Italo disco and Euro disco, and in the mid- to late 1970s New Wave and synthpop music in Japan, but did not achieve much popularity outside of Japan until the late '90s.
Para Para is strongly associated with Eurobeat. Dave Rodgers, a highly-recognized Eurobeat producer, has described Para Para as the only way to dance to Eurobeat, which is usually "so fast".
Para Para dancing consists of mostly arm movements; very little lower body movement is involved save for perhaps moving one's hips or stepping in place (although a few routines require more detailed leg motions). It has been speculated that it is a descendant of the traditional Bon Odori dance, however there is no known link. The dance originated in the early 1980s when men working in the VIP room in clubs would choreograph dances to impress women. The dance style then grew from there. The dances are performed to fast, upbeat music such as Eurobeat and Eurodance. Fans of Para Para dancing often call themselves "Paralists".
Some variants of Para Para dancing are TechPara (which would be danced to hyper techno and TraPara (which would be danced to trance). This is also known as Torapara due to the word trance being written as toransu (トランス?) in Japanese. In the 2010s decade, there has been people who make their own Parapara routines to their favorite Eurobeat songs, these Parapara routines are called Oripara.
In popular culture 
- Para Para experienced a huge boom in Japan in 1998–1999 when pop idol Takuya Kimura of SMAP performed it on television. It had such a large impact that even Mickey Mouse danced it in Tokyo Disneyland. People in Mickey Mouse and other Tokyo Disneyland costumes appeared on television dancing it with Takuya Kimura.
- The Japanese video game company Konami has released a series of video games called ParaParaParadise as part of its Bemani series of music-based games. The games feature an octagonal platform with motion detecting sensors above it. Players must trigger the sensors by moving their arms (or other body parts) under the sensors when the corresponding arrow reaches the top of the screen placed at the front of the platform.
- Para Para Sakura, a film starring Aaron Kwok, features some Para Para dancing. The theme song for the film, "Para Para Sakura", is not related to any form of Para Para based music.
- In one episode of the anime Dragon Ball GT, Goku, his granddaughter Pan, their friend Trunks, and even the robot Giru are put under a Para Para-type dance by the three Para Para Brothers.
- In the anime Super Gals!, Para Para dancing is a popular pastime for the main character Kotobuki Ran.
- In the video game Rumble Roses XX, one of the penalty games of Queen's Match is Para Para dancing. The girl who loses is forced to perform the dance and depending on the costume the player chose, the girl may have a positive, neutral, or negative reaction.
- Para Para dancing is featured heavily in the 2006 Japanese dorama Gal Circle. Many of the episodes revolve around it and nearly all of the major characters belong to a gal circle that is dedicated to it.
- K-pop girl group Kara created a rendition of the Para Para dance (also known as the "KARApara") for their fourth Japanese single "Go Go Summer!".
Current trends 
In April 2005, the Para Para dance for "Dragostea Din Tei" was aired on the show SMAP×SMAP in Japan (the same program which started the '98 boom). The Para Para Paradise video series has since been replaced by the Gazen Para Para!! series of CDs and DVDs marketed to younger teens using popular ganguro models from Egg magazine. However, as with past trends, the boom has quieted down, though Avex continues to promote Para Para through its Super Eurobeat, We Love Techpara, and Gazen Para Para!! compilation series.
As of 2008, Gazen Para Para!! has ended, and Chouzen Para Para!!, a slight reinvention of the series has begun.
Outside of Japan 
The United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Finland, France, Taiwan, Spain, Chile, Scandinavia, Brazil, and other countries outside of Japan have an active fanbase doing refilms on the Internet. These fans have circles and groups who perform at various gatherings, mainly anime conventions. Some of the non-Japanese paralists have been able to travel to Japan to perform at large Para Para gatherings.
In the United States, Geneon Entertainment released the Para Para MAX US Mix series of CDs, which contain remixes of anime theme music from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Pokémon, Magic Knight Rayearth, and many other different anime productions. Volumes 1, 2, and 3 were released in 2005. Geneon also held contests to promote the CD and its anime series. 2005's contest was held at Otakon on 20 August 2005. Geneon's efforts failed to expand the reach of Para Para in the United States. Regardless of this, Geneon released a Para Para instructional DVD called ParaPara MAX: The Moves 101, featuring several well-known United States paralists.[who?] The DVD did not sell well due to an exclusive sales agreement with Media Play, Sam Goody and Suncoast Motion Picture Company, which soon went out of business. After the Anime Fusion Tour's conclusion in the summer of 2006, Yoko Ishida's management changed, which lead to the end of Geneon's promotion of Para Para in the United States.
The rising phenomena of Flashmobs being used to perform synchronized dances in public, may have some origins in Para-Para.
See also 
- The World of Italo Disco Interviews, Interview with Aleph
- SUPER EUROBEAT@Web Official Super Eurobeat series website
- we love Techpara Official We Love Techpara website
- 超然パラパラ！！ Official 超然パラパラ！！(Chouzen ParaPara!!) website
- Eurobeat Prime contains information about many eurobeat albums