LONDON, October 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
7th Annual Worldwide "Thriller" Dance October 27th 2012: 7pm GMT/UTC Precisely!
Tick-Tock! Tick-Tock! Check the Funky Zombie Clock! The world is counting down to its biggest and Funkiest annual Halloween dance party: Thrill the World! People in cities across the world are registering to do THE greatest dance routine on earth - Michael Jackson's "Thriller"! Thrill the World is an annual global charity event that has raised in excess of $250,000 in funds for over 500 humanitarian causes. In cities across the world, including Osaka, Los Angeles, Melbourne, London, Manila, Salvador, Istanbul, Berlin, DC, Bogota, Dublin, Paris and Toronto, Funky Zombies will synchronize their watches and their moves this Halloween Saturday 27thOctober 2012 to perform 'Thriller' at EXACTLY the same time: 7pm GMT/ UTC.
Thrill the World, now in its 7th year, is an official world-record attempt for the most people to dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller"; in doing so, the project supports charities, and humanitarian stewardship. The highest number of people to participate in the event is 22,596 - the current world record.
The project is led by a global team of volunteers and continues to be a global celebration of the life, music and dance of Michael Jackson. "Thriller" album producer Quincy Jones states that Thrill the World will be "the beautiful, grand legacy of Michael Jackson". Celebrity zombie guests have included: Ola Ray, Michael's co-star in the "Thriller" video; Adam Sevani, Moose in "Step up 2", and Mayor of Austin, Will Wyn. In 2008 Michael Jackson privately flew over Thrill the World Los Angeles to watch the dance and subsequently reached out to support the project.
To be a part of the global event, anyone can learn the dance using the online tutorial videos, audio, dance script, then sign up in their local city "Thrill" - which also hosts official dance classes…
To host an official event in their city, Thrill the World is open to just about anyone who wants to sign up.
The Funky Zombie clock is ticking! Now is the time to LEARN THE DANCE! THRILL THE WORLD!
See http://www.thrilltheworld.com or follow http://facebook.com/thrilltheworld for more details.
"And my goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance." - Michael Jackson
The Boogie Woman
'Thriller' dance lives on
Michael Jackson's "Thriller" dance still lives -- at weddings, flash mobs or your living room. Approaching its 30th anniversary, it's still cool and everyone wants to learn it.
Vincent Price was right: "No mere mortal can resist the evil of the Thriller" -- even after the funk of almost 30 years.
Yes, 2013 will mark three decades since Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video stalked into the national psyche and, eventually, into the Library of Congress as "the most famous music video of all time."
The zombie song-and-lurch remains as popular as ever because of a growing interest in learning the dance steps to perform at wedding receptions, school programs, civic flash mobs -- even while killing time in prison, as a group of Filipino convicts did in 2007, in a video that's garnered more than 51 million views.
"I don't think 'Thriller' ever died, no pun intended," said Monica Mohn, a former ballroom dancing champion in Minneapolis who is teaching more than a dozen "Thriller" classes this month, mostly through community education. Some students grew up with the video, but others weren't even alive when it first aired on Dec. 2, 1983. The current zombie craze also is a factor.
But mostly, weirdly, credit the weddings.
Mohn recalled describing something in the video to one group, "and they looked at me and said, 'What video?' They only knew the dance from wedding receptions."
Last week, Mohn taught the dance to a group of teachers at Plymouth Creek Elementary School, who will perform it at the school's fall festival this month. The students spanned decades, from new to retired teachers. After 1 1/2 hours, they had the moves down, thanks to lots of repetition to create what Mohn called "muscle memory."
Marc Wegner, a third-grade teacher, sported a sheen of sweat at the break. "I'm not as rhythmically gifted as some," he said, laughing. "The steps go by really fast."
Breaking it down
The dance isn't a dead (sorry) ringer for Jackson's "Thriller" video. "It couldn't be," Mohn said. "That's a 14-minute story and is very complex." What she does, as dance instructors nationwide do, is piece together iconic parts of the video to make a sort of "homage to Michael Jackson." Stomps are expected. The twitches? Crucial. "And you need the claws," she said.
Mohn breaks down the dance into discrete portions, creating a story with cues to help students remember the order of the moves.
"If you can count to eight, you can do 'Thriller,'" she told the group, then moved them through the opening zombie steps (forward four, backward four, repeat). Her arms flailed menacingly as she stomped through the steps, hunched over and writhing, while the teachers looked as if they were shuffling through the school lunch line. But over the course of the class, their inner zombies began to emerge.
The signature "twitch" came next -- a sharp flinch of the shoulder on beats one, five and seven.
Mohn then led them through the "surfer dude" move, the "ripping open a bag of chips" move, then "dangling dinosaur" and "cheerleader" moves (inspired by bad movie matinees).
Next was the "exhausted drop," in which they were directed to bend from the waist and lunge to one side (two, three, four) then shift their weight to the other leg and, on two, suddenly snap their heads up "like you're selecting your next victim." (three, four).
As the "Thriller" refrain poured from the boombox, it was time for "the Michael," a move that started benignly ("Shift your weight to your right leg") before Mohn asked the teachers to fully commit themselves to the moment: "Squeeze your butt cheeks as hard as you can. That's going to make your hip pop right out."
On the eight count, that sounded like, "One, squeeze, three, squeeze, five, squeeze, drop and look."
At this point, everyone began to appreciate what an amazing performer Michael Jackson was.
After that, Mohn demonstrated "the claw" move, which segued into a stomp and a turn that left the zombies facing the left wall of the gym. They began the sequence of steps again, eventually turning to the back wall, then to the right wall and finally ending up facing front as Vincent Price's inimitable cackle reverberated off the gym mats.
The deader they got, the better they looked.
"There's usually a moment," Mohn said later, "when you can see that someone is fulfilling their dream of being the dancer they always wanted to be. And that's wonderful."
Over the years, some cities began staging "Thriller" re-enactments for Halloween. In 2007, a dance event called Thrill the World began in Canada. More than 1,700 people in 17 countries participated, and the event has become an annual undertaking (sorry!), with the added motivation of breaking the world record for simultaneously dancing zombies.
"It strikes a chord with people," Mohn said of the continuing popularity. Some people want to learn it for a specific occasion, while others just have it on their bucket list. "The best ones are the intergenerational groups, where you have the grandfather who has no idea what this is, with the mom who grew up with the song, who brings in her kids, and they're all learning it together."