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Fans Flocking to Michael Jackson's Music, Dance

22 July 2009

Since Michael Jackson's death in June, tributes to the pop singer have been coming in all shapes and forms.  And his signature "Thriller" dance act has experienced a spike in popularity, with hundreds of fans signing up for the "Thrill The World" event this fall, a simultaneous performance of the dance by groups around the world.  VOA visited Joe's Movement Emporium near Washington DC, where dozens of Jackson devotees attended a "Thriller" class to practice for the event.

Dance students learn Michael Jackson's steps from the Thriller' video
Dance students learn Michael Jackson's steps from the 'Thriller' video
Michael Jackson's 1983 "Thriller" has been described as the most successful music video of all time.

A quarter of a century after its release, the song, and its dance routine, still speak to music lovers worldwide.  

So when a student at Joe's Movement Emporium in Mount Rainier, Maryland, asked for a special class to teach the dance, artistic director Brooke Kidd jumped at the idea.  

"There are a couple steps where you need to understand some timing and weight shift," Kidd said. "But overall the movements are available to anybody."

Almost 60 people attended the class, getting tips from Kidd as they followed an online tutorial breaking down the dance into easy-to-follow segments.

Rumi and Harper are learning dance steps together
Rumi and Harper are learning dance steps together
Rumi spent her childhood watching Michael Jackson's iconic moves, and wanted to pass them on to her daughter Harper.  "She's a fantastic dancer, but I grew up in the 80s and just wanted to learn the dance, and we thought it would be fun together," Rumi said.

Even dancers like 16-year-old Maya, born a decade after "Thriller"'s release, wanted to honor the King of Pop.  "I decided to come to pay a tribute to Michael Jackson's death, I feel like everybody should somewhere, so I just wanted to pay my respects as a dancer," she said.

They haven't quite perfected each step, but they have plenty of time to practice before October's "Thrill The World," when these dancers will join thousands of others in a dozen countries to break the record of the largest number of people performing "Thriller" at the same time.

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