Yesterday, Today, & FOREVER The King of Pop

‘Thriller’ dance Guinness world record attempt

Update: 10/30/08

RECORD NAME: Thriller Dance


Dance: Largest Simultaneous: 4,179 people: Ines Markeljevic. On Oct.
25, 2008, 4,179 people from 10 nations (Australia, Canada, England,
Germany, Ireland, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Scotland,
United States of America, and Wales) simultaneously performed The
Thriller Dance as part of the Thrill The World event, organized by Ines
Markeljevic of Canada.  
Record Holders Republic

No mere mortal can resist…  the invading hordes of Michael Jackson zombie dancers.

By Elina Shatkin

For the 2nd annual Thrill the World event, thousands of dancers in 95
cities around the world will simultaneously re-create Michael Jackson’s
"Thriller" video. Pictured here: the 2007 event in Toronto, Canada. (Roger Cullman)
The hardest part of learning the moves in Michael Jackson’s legendary “Thriller” music video isn’t the fancy footwork or the hip swivels. It’s the iconic "claw swing."

"You show your claws to the left, then swing down, show your claws to
the right, and go back and forth. People get caught up on that a lot,"
says choreographer and dance instructor Ines Markeljevic.

In 2006, after setting the first Guinness world record for largest "Thriller" dance — Toronto, 62 people — Markeljevic went global. Taking the flash mob phenomenon to a new level, she began organizing Thrill the World last year, marshaling dancers around the globe to simultaneously perform the steps from the zombie-filled video directed by John Landis. Since premiering on MTV in December 1983, it’s been referenced in films, TV shows, video games and many other venues.

In fact, Markeljevic was in the throes of planning when the inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines
thrilled the YouTube world with their version. "I was like, ‘Oh, they
beat me to it.’ But I took it as a sign that there are other people out
there with this same global ‘Thriller’ consciousness," Markeljevic says.

In 2007, Thrill the World included 1,722 dancers in 52 cities on five
continents, setting a Guinness world record for largest worldwide
simultaneous "Thriller" dance. Today, she wants to break that record,
with 95 cities, including Berlin, Shanghai and Brisbane, Australia. For the first time, Los Angeles will be one of them, at the Hollywood & Highland complex at 11 a.m. today.

No experience is necessary, either as a dancer or a zombie, though you
need to learn the dance in advance. "A year ago I was watching YouTube
videos of people doing the ‘Thriller’ dance," says Mahdroo McCaleb, who
co-organized the L.A. event with Amanda Ayres. After learning from Markeljevic’s online videos, he led other dancers last year in San Diego.
"I taught a Catholic priest to do the dance. He was walking down the
sidewalk and asked what we were doing. We told him and asked, ‘Do you
want to do it?’ He said yes, so we put a little fake blood on his head.
He already had the outfit."

The L.A. event will be led by teen dance phenom Adam Sevani, and
last-minute participants are welcome. "This project is made for
beginners with limited to no dance experience," says Markeljevic, who
will be at Hollywood & Highland. "If you can say it, you can do it.
That’s my motto."

Shatkin is a Times staff writer.

Chicago Tribune

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