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Bishop invited to help ‘Thrill the World’

September 27, 2011

The whole community is invited to learn and perform the dance from the 1983 song and video “Thriller” by Michael Jackson as part of a world record-breaking attempt for an international simultaneous dance. Photo courtesy MTV

“Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand, creatures crawl in search of blood, to terrorize y’alls neighborhood.”
These immortal words are a prophecy of things to come this Halloween as Bishop prepares to join in on a world-record-breaking performance of the “Thriller” dance.
Local coordinators are encouraging residents to bust out the zombie attire and dust off the album, or check it out on, and get ready to invade Bishop City Park in an attempt to join an estimated tens of thousands dancers around the world in a simultaneous re-creation of “Thriller” the Saturday before Halloween, Oct. 29.
According to, the international coordinators of the event, an estimated 22,000 men, women and children danced like an undead rock star last year.
Locally, there will be workshops held every Saturday to teach folks the moves, compliments of the Bishop High School Dance Team. It is free to learn and participate in the dance, but ever-welcome donations will go to the team.
The dance was first made popular in the epic music video released in 1983 by one of the world’s largest selling and controversial entertainers, the late Michael Jackson.
The organizers of the
“Thrill the World” dance – half-zombie shuffle, half hip-hop werewolf boogie – have been  breaking world records for the largest worldwide simultaneous dance in hundreds of cities on five continents for the past five years.
This will be Bishop’s first chance participating, and organizer Rachel Anderson said she hopes to make it an annual event. “This should be a lot of fun.”
The idea was brought to the city by Erin Livingston, who relocated to Bishop from Salem, Ore. Livingston explained that she did the dance in Salem many times, wanted to do it again and so started advertising. The response has been great, she said, with attendance at the workshops more than tripling from seven the first Saturday to 25 at the second.
The dance is performed to the radio version of the song, not the video version. Livingston said the Guinness World Records demands the dance be at least five minutes long, which is slightly longer than the video version. The version for the records is an extra 32-counts longer or so, Livingston said.  She said the easiest way to learn the song is to show up to a workshop, go to for links or give her a call at (760) 590-3499.
The “how-to” workshops will be held from 4-6 p.m. at the City Gymnasium at City Hall from 1-3 p.m. every Saturday except Oct. 15.
The event is set to coincide with the city’s Halloween bash with Trunk or Treat, a tiny zombie parade and another free Movie in the Park, all at the City Park starting at 4 p.m. Anderson said there will be some costumes and make-up provided for the dance, but she said she hopes people will get involved and participate in the Best Zombie Contest.
For more information about the dance, go to, call Livingston at (760) 590-3499 or go to a workshop. More information about the city’s Halloween fun will be published as it is available, or go to for updates.

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