Thrill the World: Zombies Dance for Humanity

By Tori Mirsadjadi '12, Senior Copy Editor

Every year, people all over the world dress up as zombies and perform Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” dance to raise funds for charity. This year, students all over Claremont have been learning the dance in preparation for joining this worldwide phenomenon. On Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m., Claremont will join performers around the world in a record-breaking event.

With the support of 5C students and the local community, Claremont’s “Thrill the World” event will take place on Jaqua Quad to raise funds for charity. Not only will the community convene on Scripps’s Jaqua Quad to do this charitable performance, but Scripps will thereby become the host putting Claremont on the map for participating in the largest simultaneous dance worldwide.

Thrill the World is a world-wide phenomenon which combines flashmob-style dance performance with charitable fundraising. Every year, 100 countries on 5 continents perform the Thriller dance at exactly the same moment. The organization behind the event was created and founded by Ines Markeljevic. Local Thrill the World events are organized by area Event Managers, who register on the Thrill the World website to help prepare for and participate in “Thrill Day.” On Thrill Day, the dance is performed at exactly the same moment by every registered group around the world. Each local event, according to the Thrill the World website, “is free to choose the charity of their choice and raise funds.”

Claremont Event Manager Jenna Tico (‘12) has selected Women for Women International as the organization for which the Claremont Thrill the World will be fundraising. Tico first became interested in Thrill the World through her involvement in a Santa Barbara dance class which donates its proceeds to charity. “For the first time in my dancing life, and perhaps ever, I was met with the powerful sense of community that arises when a group bands together over the common desire to make a difference,” said Tico. “We were no

longer dancing only for ourselves, but for women all over the world.” Tico’s class also provided her with the opportunity to meet Women for Women International founder Zainab Salbi.

Fueled by the feelings from her experience in Santa Barbara, Tico decided to bring that inspirational energy to Claremont. Tico decided that Thrill the World would be an ideal way to bring this energy to Claremont, calling the performance “the most bizarre of world records and fundraisers.”

The performance on Jaqua Quad will be raising funds for Women for Women International. Tico’s dedication to this organization’s cause was solidified after meeting with Salbi this summer.

Women for Women International helps women move toward economic self-sufficiency through a “year-long program of direct aid, rights education, job skills training and small business development,” according to their website.

The organization supports female survivors of war and conflict, addressing immediate and long-term needs in an effort “to create a more just and peaceful world.”

“This organization,” said Tico, “is deserving of our time, attention and love. As a graduating senior, it is my greatest hope that this event will set into motion a chain of annual gatherings that allow Scripps students to dance our way to a better future for women around the world, and for ourselves.”

A Humanities major, Tico’s senior thesis has had her investigating “the unique capability of site-specific performance and flashmob.” She’s interested in challenging established ideas of what constitutes “dance” and “performance.” Tico hopes that Claremont’s Thrill the World event will open up categories of existence—“the everyday, the unexpected, every body, everybody”—to expand the community’s mind “to the broad spectrum of what constitutes ‘dance.’” All while raising money for a good cause.

It’s not too late to join this year’s Thrill the World event. Rehearsals are open to all and will be continuing up to the day of the event, including a 10-11 a.m. rehearsal at the Tiernan Field House and a 4-6 p.m. rehearsal at El Barrio Park on the 22nd and a 10-11 a.m. rehearsal at the field house on the 29th. All skill levels are welcome. As the Thrill the World website reminds Event Managers, Thriller is unique for the way that, “knowing what bad dancers Zombies are,” people may (re)discover the joy of dance.

For those who are interested in participating in the charitable event but may not want to perform, Tico is still collecting donations and sponsorships for individual dancers before the event. Donations can be made in cash or in checks made out directly to Women for Women International. “Even as little as $5 makes a huge difference,” Tico said.

The Motley has contributed external funding to the event, and Jamba Juice will be selling smoothies at the event—starting at 5 p.m., two hours before the actual performance begins—for $3.