Jackson Zombie Apocalypse: “Thriller” enthusiasts are set to take to the streets of Jackson to show off their killer makeup and dance moves

By on October 25, 2017

Kate Kosharek once tried to look up exactly what genre of dance Michael Jackson fit into. Was it jazz, hip-hop or pop choreography? She found people online who said he invented his own genre and she agreed.

“That is why I’m so drawn to him,” she said. “He’s so unique. I took classical ballet and jazz and modern and I see it all in what he does.”

Kosharek’s been a fan since she was in fifth grade, and even took dance classes from a teacher who loved the pop icon and taught dances from his videos, including “Thriller.”

She played his music in class, and not just in jazz, but also in ballet. Kosharek was hooked, and each year she shares her passion for the King of Pop by teaching “Thriller” and guiding dancers around town in a zombie crawl.

Eleven years ago Dancers’ Workshop threw a “Thriller” party where Kosharek taught the iconic dance. She quickly realized people weren’t there so much for the party as they were to learn the dance. So she changed the format slightly, keeping the party atmosphere, but focusing on teaching the choreography as well. It’s become a Halloween tradition.

“We haven’t maxed out, people are still hungry to learn the dance,” she said.

People are encouraged to come in costume and Dancers’ Workshop also provides extra makeup for those weren’t able to put together an outfit, but want to at least take on the look of a zombie.

After about an hour of instruction participants can take what they’ve learned to the streets for a zombie crawl.

“It’s an easy dance as far as the steps go,” Kosharek said.  I think what makes it hard is the syncopations and the rhythm of it and the quickness of it.”

Kosharek is the adult programs coordinator at Dancers’ Workshop and also an instructor. She teaches the workshop like any other class, breaking down the 2.5 minutes of choreography into easy-to-learn segments.

The first zombie crawl happened spontaneously after a “Thriller” party ended and someone wanted to keep dancing.

“’Flash mob’ wasn’t even really a term then,” Kosharek said. “Someone said ‘lets go zombie crawl the town,’ and I said, ‘Ok.’”

The performance part has become as important as the class. For some people it’s their first time dancing in front of an audience and they love the rush. Local businesses like the Silver Dollar Bar also have embraced the annual crawl and have the “Thriller” music ready to play.

“It’s become a tradition, not just for Dancers’ Workshop, but for Jackson,” Kosharek said.

The “Thriller” workshop and zombie crawl consists mostly of adult participants, but the workshop and zombie crawl are open to all ages. Kids under 13 need to have a parent present for the class and the crawl.  PJH

Dancers’ Workshop, Thriller Workshop and Zombie Crawl with Kate Kosharek, 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dancers’ Workshop at the Center for the Arts, $20, all ages, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

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