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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson to participate in global ‘Thriller’ dance

    Cecilia Alvarez
    Cecilia Alvarez/ The Daily Wildcat Linda Ksiazek (front left) teaches Tucson locals choreography to Thriller at Westin La Paloma Resort on Thursday. This is Ksiazeks fifth consecutive year teaching the dance to Tucsonans for Thrill The World Tucson event.

    As if Michael Jackson wasn’t legendary enough, his fame is on the rise once again in the form of an international, simultaneous dance to “Thriller” happening this weekend
    Thrill the World 2013 will return for its seventh year on Saturday, when Tucsonans from all over the city will don their scariest zombie outfits and dance to Jackson’s all-too-familiar “Thriller.”

    According to the Thrill the World website, the worldwide event came to fruition thanks to the mind of Ines Markeljevic, who began dancing to “Thriller” as early as age 3. Markeljevic became a choreographer and instructor after studying dance at York University.

    In 2006, Markeljevic realized there was no world record in the books for the largest simultaneous dance to “Thriller,” so she organized the first Guinness World Record for “Largest Thriller Dance,” with 62 dancers in Toronto.

    Markeljevic decided to go international in 2007, making Thrill the World a global staple during the month of October.

    This year, for the 30th anniversary of the song’s release, Thrill the World is attempting to break its record from 2009, when 22,571 people from 264 different cities across the world simultaneously danced to “Thriller.”

    According to the event’s registration page, about 21 different countries will participate in the event on Saturday, including Australia, China, Germany, Rwanda and Venezuela.

    Kathleen Kelley, event manager and co-chair for the San Francisco Bay Area region of Thrill the World, estimates that 129 cities around the globe will be dancing to “Thriller” at the same time this weekend.

    Kelley said that Thrill the World takes place every year during the weekend closest to Halloween, as the last few weeks in October are already occupied with zombies celebrating the holiday.

    In Tucson, Thrill the World will be held at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa at 2 p.m. The event also aims to help the Tucson Food Bank by encouraging participants to bring a non-perishable food item as a donation.

    Tracy Nyemaster, director of guest experiences at La Paloma, said she’s hoping 50 to 100 people will show up this year to participate in this year’s attempt to break a world record.

    Last year, Nyemaster said, about 15 to 20 people showed up to dance.

    “We’re working to make this event even bigger and better than before,” Nymaster said, adding that she reached out to local schools and dance communities about the event this year as well.

    Nyemaster said that a 9-year-old boy showed up to a weekday rehearsal clothed in Michael Jackson attire, sparkling glove and all, ready to give tribute to the pop legend.

    Volunteers at the event will be available to paint attendees’ faces to make them look like flesh-eating zombies.

    “We really wanted to invite the local community and get people involved,” Nyemaster said. “We have a lot of excited people who have wanted to join. The response has been very positive.”

    Follow Casey Knox @Knox_Casey

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