BY KELLY KENDALL
“It’s close to midnight, and something evil’s lurking in the dark …”
If those words set your shoulders twitching and conjure up images of dancing zombies, you need to know about Thrill the World. The annual event brings together thousands of dancers around the world — including Bloomington — to perform to Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller” at precisely the same moment.
It’s for charity. It’s for unity. But mostly, it’s for the joy of dance — the chance to do the iconic “roar” movement and hunched-over hip shakes of the video that’s been rocking audiences since 1983, says Alice Dobie-Galuska, who started the local Thrill the World event five years ago.
“It was a big deal back in the ’80s,” says Dobie-Galuska, who was a sophomore in high school when the Jackson video came out. “People have passed the love and the fun of that song on to their kids.”
Thrill the World originated with Canadian choreographer Ines Markeljevic, who launched a Thrill Toronto event in 2006. In 2009, the by-then annual effort set the world record for the most dancers simultaneously performing the song, with 22,571 “zombies” in 33 countries on five continents.
That was the year Dobie-Galuska heard about the project from a friend. Almost every year since, she has led Bloomingtonians in dance to “Thriller” on the Saturday before Halloween.
This year’s event is scheduled for 6 p.m., October 25, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Dobie-Galuska offers classes to learn the dance for a $5 fee beginning in August. To dance in the big event, you must attend at least one class and pay a $10 registration fee.
All of the proceeds, plus donations from spectators on the night of the big show, benefit Cardinal Stage Company.
Most people can learn the dance in about four classes, says Dobie-Galuska. “It’s kind of like an exercise class, but a little more complicated.” Lessons are also available online at Markeljevic’s site, thrilltheworld.com. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Last year’s 56 local dancers ranged in age from 5 to 61. “It’s pretty exciting,” says Dobie-Galuska. “You realize, ‘Oh, I’m dancing with thousands of other people all over the world.’ It’s a neat feeling.”