When I was in college, every Halloween there would be an event at the rec center where students would teach the dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to anyone who showed up. Every year, I heard about the event and thought it would be a blast to go, but every year I either forgot what day it was happening or had other plans interfere. I’d be lying if I said that missing the “Thriller” night every year at the rec center wasn’t one of my bigger regrets from my years in college.
This past summer, after Michael Jackson died, we spent a couple weeks in Jazz class learning the “Thriller” dance as a sort of tribute. Lisa, our teacher, found the choreography at Thrill the World, a project seeking to break records with the world’s largest simultaneous dance of “Thriller.” We learned all the steps, from Zombie Booty Swim to Oh Snap Rock On. We had a hell of a good time lurching around the studio like zombies in the middle of the summer.
Last week in tap class, someone mentioned that she’d heard on the radio about a Thrill the World event happening at a local bar. The event here in town was just one of 400 simultaneous performances of “Thriller” in over forty countries, and once again the goal was to set a new world record.
And so last night, I went downtown with a few of the girls from dance, and we Thrilled the World.
Since we already knew the dance, we skipped most of the instructional time in favor of having a few drinks to improve our zombie skills. Since we’d only be doing a condensed, three-minute version of the dance rather than the full fifteen minutes, however, we did jump in for a few practice runs between drinks to learn the modified sequence of the steps.
When the clock struck 6:30, it was show time. We pushed away all thoughts of what might be lurking in the cracks of the bar parking lot we were dancing in, laid on the ground, and waited for the music to start, signaling us to rise like zombies from the grave and get our undead groove on.
It was awesome.
(Check out the full video from the people who sponsored the event. Occasionally the camera pans over to the right where we were dancing.)
I don’t know yet if we actually helped break any records, but I do know that we all had a blast shaking our zombie booties. And I’m pretty sure this was way more fun than it would have been back in college on the rec center gym floor.