Sound credentials: Thriller fever

Fans aim to honour Michael Jackson through worldwide Thriller dance sequence, set new world record

By (DPA)

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Published: Thu 23 Jul 2009, 3:40 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:32 PM

The tribute to their lost idol will go something like this: hundreds, if not thousands, of fans plan to rise up, dance like zombies and imitate his decaying corpse.

For anyone else, it may seem an unusual celebration.

But this is Michael Jackson we’re talking about. A bit unusual — Off The Wall, if you will. But, well, normal.

Over the coming months, starting in Mexico in August and then continuing all over the world in October, fans will recreate the 1983 Thriller dance footwork that secured Jackon’s star in the rock galaxy.

Jackson, the self-proclaimed King of Pop, died suddenly in Los Angeles last month. Autopsy results showed the immediate cause of death as cardiac arrest, but further investigations are under way.

Fans in Mexico City plan to celebrate what would have been the singer’s 51st birthday on August 29 with a record-setting Thriller dance in the Zocalo, the city’s main square.

Gathering support largely through Facebook, Twitter and email, organisers hope to break the official Guinness World record for simultaneous Thriller dancing, set last May by 242 university students in Virginia.

Located in the historic centre of the city, the Zocalo can reportedly hold more than 100,000 people. Artists like Shakira and Joaquin Sabina have filled the vast plaza for free outdoor concerts.

What more perfect place, then, to beat not just one but two records. In addition to the Thriller dance record from 2008, Mexico’s organisers want to break another cultural milestone for the Zocalo — that of installation artist Spencer Tunick, who gathered nearly 20,000 naked people there in 2007.

But Mexico City isn’t the only place with Thriller-fever. This year’s installment of the annual international Thrill the World event will be held on October 25.

The Toronto-based fans of Thriller started organising in 2006, with a record of 62 people doin’ Jackson’s zombie steps. Last year’s Thrill The World drew 4,179 participants from 72 places in 10 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Australia, Germany, the US and the UK — but it’s not been acknowledged by Guinness as the largest, according to the organization.

Thrill The World 2009 is to begin at 0030 (GMT) on October 25 in countries including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia.

The project is the brainchild of Canadian dance instructor, choreographer and lifetime Thriller enthusiast Ines Markeljevic, who claims to have begun her dancing career imitating zombie Jackson in front of the TV when she was just three years old.

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