With additional reporting and videography by Paige Ricks
Michael Jackson devotees dressed as zombies and assembled in North Oakland on Saturday as part of Thrill the World, a yearly event when thousands of people around the world dance to the song “Thriller” at the exact same time. There were 169 undead dancers at the Oakland event, and about 23,000 participants worldwide, dancing simultaneously in 32 countries across the world.
According to Kathleen Kelley, organizer of the Oakland event, the weekend zombies now hold the world record for the most people to ever perform “Thriller” at the same time.
The event is at once a tribute to the late King of Pop, a charity event (Thrill the World raised over 100 thousand dollars this year for charities), and a celebration of zombie culture that signals the coming of Halloween. Dancers ran the gamut of style, ranging from sixty-something zombie punk princesses to leather-clad, afroed elementary schoolers. All gathered at the Studio One Arts Center on 45th street to prepare for the dance on Saturday afternoon. Some came to Studio One already knowing the dance, having practiced over the past few weeks, but many came not knowing a step. They learned quickly, though–dance rehearsals began at 3 pm, and by 5 o’clock all 169 dancers were ready to perform.
If you missed out on the dance, fear not: there’s still time to get your zombie on. A flashmob has been planned for Halloween Day at 1:15 pm at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland. “Full zombie costume is preferable, but if not, please wear red and black,” event organizers said in an e-mail.
For more information on Saturday’s flashmob, e-mail to email@example.com. For more information on Thrill the World and all things Zombie, e-mail Kathleen Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org.