Keeper of the Plans

Zombie dancers primed to perform a killer ‘Thriller’

'Thriller' dance rehearsal

Rachel Chinn, a dance instructor at Care to Dance, leads a "Thriller" dance class that's set to culminate this weekend with a series of performances. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)
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Rachel Chinn, a dance instructor at Care to Dance, leads a "Thriller" dance class that's set to culminate this weekend with a series of performances. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)

Have you ever wanted to dance to “Thriller” like the late, great Michael Jackson?

I was willing to bet that that’s somewhat of a dream for many, and that bet was validated Thursday night.

Rachel Chinn, a dance instructor at Care to Dance, is in her fourth year of teaching “Thriller” dance classes in Wichita.

The eight- to 10-week sessions, which are timed around Halloween, have grown in popularity in those years, she said.

For the first two years, she had between four and eight dancers, but in the past two years, those numbers have swelled to about 15.

“I love Michael Jackson, and I have since I was a little girl,” Chinn said. “I just thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if every year there was a “sort of flash mob, sort of not” performance of “Thriller”?’ ”

The weekly classes are about an hour long – tuition for the class is about $80.

Some have danced with her all four years, she said. For others, this is their first time learning to hip-pop like Mike.

“It takes time to go through the choreography, figure out the formation, which people are going to do any special things in the dance,” she said.

The group’s efforts are going to be showcased three (possibly four) times this weekend. A couple of those will be free and open to the public.

▪ 8 p.m. Friday at Care to Dance’s Halloween party (1019 W. Douglas). $12 admission.

▪ 8 p.m. Saturday, before “Reefer Madness” at Roxy’s Downtown (412 E. Douglas). Admission to the show required.

▪ 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Old Town Square (Second and Mead).

▪ Flash-mob performance possibly around 7:30 p.m. on Halloween (Monday) at a yet-to-be-decided location in College Hill.

So your best opportunity to check it out will be at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Old Town Square.

Last year, between 100 and 150 people watched the performance, Chinn said.

“Usually they try to join in a bit if they know any of it – if they know some, they’ll dance along,” she said. “That’s the point. It’s so iconic and everybody knows it – knows of it.”

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt

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