ThrillerNYC Goes to a Wedding
This year I joined ThrillerNYC as a zombie dancer in the West Village Halloween Parade because I love to dance, love music (especial Michael Jackson’s music) and love Halloween.
Thriller NYC has trained zombie wannabes to do Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance that is performed for adoring fans every year at the West Village Halloween Parade since 2004. These dancing zombies come from all different backgrounds, very few of which have any professional dancing experience including yours truly. Anyone can join Thriller NYC, but it is on a first come first serve basis – the first 100 zombies to register online the first day of October make the cut and the rest are waitlisted.
I was originally waitlisted. Disappointed by this news, I was surprised to get an email from the Thriller NYC organizer Erin Early stating that they had six spots open up for this year’s parade and I received the last one. Her next email was a request for a few volunteers to do GingerTV and Halloween-themed wedding. Of course I agreed to participate in both events.
As a candymaker, I enjoy weddings because I’m creating something that contributes in their happiness on the joyous occasion. I also love attending weddings because it’s a celebration of love with friends, family, great food, music and dancing. Emphasis on dancing! Add in a Halloween theme at a beautiful Upstate New York winery and it’s perfection. Now I just needed to learn the routine within a week.
A few hours after receiving the news that I was officially “in the graveyard,” I had my first rehearsal in a dance studio with 70 strangers learning the Thriller dance. Gulp! No time to second guess that decision. Choreographer Carolyn Kelly, coached us zombies-in-training on how to do the Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance. The rehearsal was a lot of fun but I was two left feet. Thankfully, Erin and Carolyn gave us an instructional video to practice our steps. Unlike most of the other dancers, I only had a week to practice because the Halloween-themed wedding would be in seven days.
Practice makes perfect, and I needed a lot of practice! Over the next seven days, I danced all the time in my apartment. I even danced on my building rooftop. People in neighboring apartments must’ve thought I was crazy. When I wasn’t practicing my dance moves, I was watching the instructional video in the grocery store line, on subway platforms and anytime I had a few moments of downtime in my schedule.
Our big debut as zombie dancers at the wedding came way too fast. After my GingerTV interview and performance with fellow ThrillerNYC dancers, choreographer Carolyn Kelly, and organizer Erin Early, I had to run home for a costume change for the wedding. Talk about an interesting subway ride home. Try walking the streets of nyc and taking public transportation dressed as a school girl zombie when it’s not Halloween! I scared some little kids.
Once I had my 19th-century era costume donned with a freshly scar-painted face by a BirchBox makeup artist, I was appropriately zombified for the Halloween themed period era wedding. We had a quick group rehearsal so I was feeling as ready as I could be after a week of practice.
The butterflies in my stomach started to subside once I started bonding with fellow zombie dancers during our long ride up to Washingtonville, NY for the wedding at Brotherhood winery. A few of my newly found friends schooled me on the latest happenings in their favorite TV shows like “American Horror Story” and New York Comic Con’s sneak previews of upcoming TV shows.
To my delight, we arrived at the eerily beautiful oldest winery in America. Without a moment to hesitate, we had to run into a grand salon and perform our “trick” as soon as we heard the Thriller music cue up. Our flash mob performance surprised and thrilled everyone. Yes, we were a surprise gift to the bride and groom from the bride’s cousin. This adorable couple loves everything Halloween including Thriller dancing zombies. They met and a haunted house and got engaged during this holiday too! Talk about a couple that is meant to be together.
We spent the rest of the night dancing and taking selfies with guests, eating great food and enjoying the winery’s wine in an early 19th century stone building with towering ceilings, hand crafted wooden floors, exposed wooden beams and ten foot round antique wrought iron chandeliers that all come together in a historic setting full of old world charm.