When choreographer and dance instructor Ines Markeljevic rounded up 62 people in Toronto in 2006 to perform the dance from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video, she probably didn't imagine her humble gathering would spark a worldwide phenomenon. In 2007, Thrill the World included 1,722 dancers in 52 cities on five continents. In 2008, for the first time, Los Angeles participated, mustering 114 dancers who performed at Hollywood and Highland. (It's rumored that the Gloved One watched the dance from his God's-eye view in a helicopter; who knows where he's watching from this year?) But that's nothing compared to what Thrill The World staged this year.
Inspired by Jackson's death this summer, thousands of amateur dancers, not to mention amateur zombies, flocked to sites around the world to participate in Saturday's simultaneous "Thriller" zombie dance. Continuing in the tradition of the inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines, whose 2007 YouTube video became an Internet sensation, dancers did their best to be true to John Landis' groundbreaking 1983 video. An army of the living dead (or at least living dead look-alikes) turned up at L.A. Live and other sites to step, jump and swing their claws while costumed in full zombie gear.
The Los Angeles event drew an estimated 3,000 participants, many of whom were dancing for charitable causes. Most notable among them was a group of students from Inner City Arts, a Skid Row-based organization that brings arts and after-school activities to children in Los Angeles. Raising funds while raising the dead -- Michael Jackson would have been thrilled.