‘Thriller’ dance to cross world cultures

Thrill The World, an event started in 2006 by Canadian choreographer Ines Markelle, will inspire people in various countries to dance the choreography to “Thriller” on Saturday. 

Last year, the event broke a Guinness World Record with 4,179 dancers in 10 countries.

Bloomington is participating in the event this year, and because of different time zones, the local event will take place at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Willkie Auditorium.
Although there is no cost, a donation of $5 is suggested. All proceeds will benefit the Middle Way House, a program that helps women and children who suffer from domestic violence.

According to a Thrill The World press release, the world goal is to have one million people dancing to the song at the same time. In addition, this year’s Thrill The World will celebrate Jackson’s life.  

Markelle, director of Thrill the World, said she began the event because she wanted to see a large group of people dance together.

“‘Thriller’ is the most iconic, popular and best-known and loved music video around the world,” Markelle said. “It crosses boundaries of race, religion and culture. You go to every country and people know ‘Thriller.’”

She said people also participate for various reasons, such as for exercise and to raise money, but others do the event to prove to themselves that they can actually do the ‘Thriller’ dance.

“They say, ‘I wish I could do that,’” Markelle said. “Now you can.”

Alice Dobie-Galuska, event manager for Bloomington’s Thrill The World, said she has been organizing workshops to teach dancers the “Thriller” moves this fall at Panache School of Ballroom & Social Dance.  

Dobie-Galuska said she wanted to begin the event last year but was not able to follow through. A dancer herself, she said she relates to Markelle’s mission to bring people together.

“After reading all the rules, I thought, ‘I can’t do this,’” Dobie-Galuska said. “But after (Jackson) died, I thought, I had to do it.”

Dobie-Galuska said there have been 35 people participating in the workshops so far, from school-aged children to middle-aged adults. She said she learned the dance from an instructional video on the Thrill The World Web site and then taught the sequence to the prospective dancers.  

Besides workshops to teach the dance, participants have been part of Thrill The World “Flash Mobs,” which is when a group of people show up at a public place unannounced and perform.

“We had one at the Lotus Festival, one at the Farmers’ Market,” Dobie-Galuska said. “It was pretty well-received from what I could tell, all of us dancing in the rain.”

Dobie-Galuska said dancing for Thrill The World is be a great way to bond with others.
“Everyone can dance,” she said. “There’s so much joy in dancing, and I think Michael Jackson would agree with that. It’s a common thing that can cross many cultures. It’s a way to connect people with each other.”

Junior Meaghan Herstad said she was surfing the Web this summer and found the Thrill The World site. She said she was pleasantly surprised when she saw that there was going to be an event in Bloomington this year.

“It sounded kind of silly and a lot of fun,” Herstad said. “It’s for everyone. Anytime you hear ‘Thriller,’ you think of the music video, zombies, and you get this urge to bust a move.”

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