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When the words ‘best music video of all time’ are uttered, what comes to mind? For many, at least those above the age of 25, as well as music historians, it’s Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” To simply say it is an iconic video, does little to signify its’ true historical value. Thriller, along with it’s album mate ‘Beat it,’ ushered in the age of true, full-scale-dance videos. But Thriller was more than just a music video, it was a top-of-the-line Hollywood production filmed by legendary director John Landis, and complete with dancing zombies, a ferocious werewolf, a script, awesome acting, the incomparable King of Pop, and, of course, the incredible choreography of Michael Peters.
For almost 30 years now, people have learned and relearned the iconic “Thriller” choreography. When performed by MJ and his professional dancers, it is an electrifying dance to watch. The choreography is zombie-like and precise, a difficult task for anyone save Michael Peters. Yet, it took a genius such as Peters to choreograph such an incredible dance that is dazzling when performed by professional dancers, but is also fairly simple to learn by a novice dancer. And THAT is exactly why so many people, 30 years later, know the “Thriller” choreography…or at least bits and pieces of it.
I clearly remember trying to learn it when I was younger. That is, once I stopped crying every time I saw the album cover because I was so scared of the freaking video. My babysitter probably shouldn’t have let me watch it when I was 4 years old. I wore out my VHS tape of “Thriller” trying to learn the choreography so I could teach it to my fellow pom squad teammates at Sarasota High. I taught it to my fellow Dazzler teammates at the University of Florida for Midnight Madness in 2000. Side note: We made Sportscenter that night, although I think Billy Donovan popping out of a coffin at the end was a major draw. I taught it to the Hawks Cheerleaders 2 years after I had retired from the team and performed it with them for opening night of the 2011 season. And, finally, I have taught it at numerous parties and classes in between all of these performances. It makes for the perfect class. Everybody knows the song and has seen the choreography, and for an hour you’re having so much fun that you don’t even realize you’re exercising.
I’m in the red dress to the left of Harry…
This year, in the spirit of Halloween and Michael Jackson, I am teaming up with Volunteer Emory to bring you Dance for a Cause: Thriller Edition this Sunday, October 28 at 7pm in the WoodPEC on the Emory University campus. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for Emory students. All proceeds benefit IMAGE Children’s Shelter. Come break a sweat while learning the iconic choreography that continues to stand the test of time. And wear your best zombie gear!
Location: The event will take place on Emory University’s campus in the Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC).
Parking: Everyone should plan to park in the Peavine Parking Deck (it’s free on the weekends and right behind the WoodPEC. (Address of parking deck: 29 Eagle Row, Atlanta GA 30322)
1.) When you walk into the WoodPEC, tell them that you’re there for a Volunteer Emory public event taking place in the 4th floor gym.
2.) Take stairs or elevator to the 4th floor
3.) Stop by the table at the edge of the gym to pay for your ticket: cash and check ONLY.
- a. Tickets are $15 for general public, $10 for Emory University students
- b. Checks should be made directly to Volunteer Emory University
- c. All proceeds benefit the IMAGE Children’s Shelter