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Zombies rise at Cloverdale’s Halloween market

Thrill the World Surrey looking for more dancers
Fifty-six people dance in Thrill The World Surrey’s performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller at Surrey city hall in 2018. This year’s event will be held Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. at Surrey’s KPU campus. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Cloverdale’s Halloween market was invaded by zombies Oct. 21, as Thrill the World Surrey dancers performed on the stage in Shannon Hall.

The mini-flash mob danced at noon to Michael Jackson’s iconic pop anthem “Thriller” in front of market-goers visting the sixth annual Spooktacular Halloween Market.

“It was great,” said Natalie Binns, event manager for Thrill The World Surrey (TTWS) and a performer. “There was a really good turnout and people were having a lot of fun watching us. The vendors and the customers seemed to enjoy it.”

TTWS only had four dancers out, but the event wasn’t the group’s yearly performance; that happens Oct. 28. The idea was to raise awareness about the upcoming event and to advertise for more dancers.

TTWS is looking for more people to join. Binns said, most importantly, no experience is necessary.

“We’re just trying to get the word out,” she added. “We’re trying to recruit more dancers to come. We’ve got a few more practices left, so people can come out and learn the dance beforehand.”

If anyone wants to join, but can’t come out to any of their practices this week, she noted, they can find videos on YouTube to practice along to. There will also be a practice ahead of the performance Oct. 28.

Binns said anyone can learn the dance in about an hour.

“On the day of, we have a crash course,” Binns explained. “Basically, for about an hour, leading up to the Thrill time, we practice the dance.”

Binns said they slow the song down and run the practice at a leisurely pace. That way dancers can get used to it and be ready to perform.

“Even if someone doesn’t totally get it, they will have enough practice with the crash course that they’ll be able to follow along during the performance.”

And, of course, come dressed as a zombie, Binns stressed.

If anyone wants to dance like a zombie this week, Binns said they can find practice schedule information and contact details on their facebook page, @thrilltheworldsurrey. The group has a few practices left before Oct. 28.

Thrill the World was first held in Toronto in 2006 before spreading to other communities around the globe. The goal back then was to set the Guinness World Record for the largest Thriller dance, which they did with 62 dancers. That record was broken in 2008 (and may still stand) when 1,722 people in 52 cities on five different continents danced simultaneously.

Binns and some friends started the TTWS in 2014, after they had travelled into Vancouver for performances there every year since 2008. Binns even travelled to Redmond, Washington, one year to dance in what is one of the biggest in performances in the world.

“The goal is to have fun,” noted Binns. “It’s really cool the idea that while we’re doing this dance here, they’re also dancing in L.A., they’re also dancing in Texas. It’s a worldwide community.”

Binns said each Thrill the World group chooses a local charity to support. For TTWS, it’s the Surrey Food Bank.

“It’s really important to me as I work for a non-profit,” explained Binns. “I see firsthand the struggles people are having with food security right now. So we’re really trying to raise money and collect non-perishables for Surrey’s food bank.”

Binns said TTWS encourages dancers to donate $10 or more to the food bank. Spectators are also asked to make donations of cash or non-perishable food items.

“We encourage people to donate,” said Binns. “It’s not required, but we do ask, if people are able, to bring a non-perishable or a cash donation to the performance.”

She said this week, on both their Instagram and Facebook pages, TTWS will be posting the most needed items requested by the Surrey Food Bank this month.

“We’re really hoping to encourage some more people to come out and be a part of this,” added Binns. “Our group shrunk with the pandemic and so we’re looking for new people to join. It’s a lot of fun and we raise money and food for a good cause.

“And it’s for people of all different abilities and ages.”

Thrill the World Surrey will perform at 3 p.m. at KPU’s Surrey campus on Oct. 28. Their same-day practice starts ahead of the event at 1 p.m.

Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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