SURREY — Charlotte Barlow has done some professional dancing in her time, including a recent appearance in a Macklemore video, but few things thrill her like dancing to Michael Jackson’s music.
“He’s the reason I started dancing,” Barlow raved. “Thinking back to the day he passed, it was really hard on me, like I’d lost my dad. I don’t want Michael Jackson’s spirit to die.”
In 2008, Barlow was in Vancouver for that city’s first “Thrill the World” event, which sees people dressed as zombies dance to Jackson’s “Thriller,” just like in the song’s iconic video.
Eight years later, she’s the dance co-ordinator of Surrey’s version of “Thrill the World.”
“We just want this thing to keep going and grow,” she told the Now about the event, set for Saturday, Oct. 29 at Cloverdale Youth Park, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
Barlow gets to dress as Jackson for the event, naturally.
“We’re holding about three practices a week right now, and lots of people just join us on the day of the event, too,” Barlow said. “They can learn it all at home too, with the tutorials online we have. There’s a lot of interest in what we’re doing, and people learning the dance.”
PICTURED: Charlotte Barlow at the 2014 “Thrill The World Surrey” event. File photo
CLICK HERE to visit the Thrill the World Surrey Facebook page.
CLICK HERE to see the Facebook event page.
Prior to the event in Cloverdale, the Surrey group will take part in the Vancouver Halloween Parade & Expo on Sunday, Oct. 16, starting at 11 a.m. at the corner of Howe and Granville streets.
“They bring Michael Jackson’s classic moves to the parade, and spectators love to interact with them,” the event spokesperson, known as Jack O’lantern, told the Now.
Those who participate in Surrey’s “Thrill The World” event are encouraged to bring a $10 donation for Surrey Food Bank, along with a non-perishable food item or two.
“The event itself is part of a world-record attempt to have the most people dancing to ‘Thriller’ at one time, and it’s a fundraiser for the food bank, too,” Barlow explained.
“Our first year was really big, in 2014, and last year we only did about half of that, so we’re looking to make it bigger and better.”
PICTURED: Barlow in the video for “Dance Off” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Barlow can be seen in the recent video for “Dance Off,” the song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. After auditioning in Vancouver, she travelled to Seattle to shoot scenes for the video last April. Barlow plays an angry waitress who smashes a full pot of coffee over the head of a restaurant customer before getting into a “dance off” with another diner.
“As a (retired) professional dancer, this was huge,” Barlow told the Now.
“When I first heard the song I thought, oh, this is so me,” she continued. “I used to go clubbing a lot – like, I was a bar star – and I always get challenged on the dance floor, so the whole chorus describes my life as an adult because I always get challenged to a dance-off. So I just had to audition for the video. That song was made for me, honestly. It was the validation I need to keep dancing.”
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She’s equally keen about encouraging people to get involved in “Thrill the World” in Cloverdale.
“We get people from all walks of life, and all abilities,” Barlow noted. “One of the dancers, Al, is a 50-plus man with Down’s syndrome, and he just loves Michael Jackson, and we have one friend who’s autistic who comes out. I don’t know, dance to me is like my anti-drug. If we can reach as many people as possible, it’d be great, because it’s so much fun.”