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Move it Like a Zombie

“Ah hahahahahahahah eh hahahahahah, mmuahahahahaha!”
“Creeeeeeeeek!”
At that second sound of a door starting to close, I stood frozen with arms bent like a monster, knees slightly bent, and head pushed forward toward the audience, waiting as the song closed with the door groaning closed against its frame. Suddenly, I dropped my pose and fell to the ground along with the other 349 performers in front, beside, and behind me of the main walkway of the fairgrounds. As I feigned a motionless state like a zombie back in its grave, fairgoers watching the performance from both sides of the walkway voiced their approval through louder whistles, cheers, and a roaring thunder of applause. Michael Jackson, we did you proud today.

***

“Can you look at the RB News Journals I saved for you?” Mom asked when I woke up for breakfast.
“Sure”
“I can’t remember which one, but there’s one which has an article about a flash mob at the San Diego County Fair,” she said. “It sounds fun but-”
“It’s not a true flash mob,” I finished as I picked up the stack and skimmed through the first one.  Paper #1 contained nothing unusual, just the realtor listings, top honors students recognized for achievements from 3 of the 4 high schools, and obituaries. Next.

Paper #2 dated May 4th started looking bleak but changed when I turned the page and saw the article complete with a picture taken from a rehearsal, the headline blazing ‘Thriller zombies’ needed for fair; Poway practices set in the upper left hand corner.

“You should ask your friends if they’re interested,” Mom said as I read the article. “Maybe see if Jaxon, Lilliana, or -”
“How about Taylor?”
“The tall one who attended Bishops? I’m sure she’d get a kick out of it,” Mom replied. “It seems like practices already started long before you came home but check the website for the Poway ones. I’m sure you can jump right in and learn it.”

***

“Hello folks! Are you here for the Thriller dance practices?” the woman asked.
“Yes.”
She set her backpack down, unzipped it, and dug around for a pen and a clipboard with forms.
“I need everyone to fill out an information form with their name, phone number, and best e-mail address to contact you by in order to get you into the fair for free. Also, please fill out a liability form if this is your first time dancing with us. This covers safety and the possibility of having you appear on local, national, and world news.”
I nearly did a double take – did she say world coverage too? She must have read my mind for she explained that she danced in the mob last year. What started with local coverage in San Diego, quickly was shared via other networks nationwide, and even to people in the world. Pretty astounding for one big performance for one of many county fairs.

“Good morning everyone! Let’s get started,” a man said as he arranged us into different lines. He went to the front of the group and began calling out instructions as he did the moves. “So we’re going to start out by stepping on our right foot forward, followed by the left foot. We’ll move forward twice then backward and while we’re doing this, your arms should be out in front. So let’s try that. 5, 6, 7, 8!”

The group imitated his movements and he added that since we were zombies, the movements should start rigid and look sharp since zombies don’t move fluidly but in abrupt, jerky motions. An older woman spoke up at this time about where we could find instructions for the dance for practice on our own time. Our instructor turned around and replied to check cstarproductionz.com for a video of Chris, the man who orchestrated last year’s mob, walking through the moves.

“The music is from Thrill the World,” he added. “It’s a global project where Michael’s Thriller routine is performed in various locations all over and some performances raise money for charities.”

***

“I found a clip of your performance,” Dad yelled from the computer. “Can’t really see you of course but I can see Taylor. Were you standing by her?”
“Yup. Thank you Taylor for being 6’3” and easy to spot,” I replied as I joined him. I leaned in close to see the small screen, trying to squeeze as many of the 350 performers as possible into the high up shot.
“Lots of people watching,” Dad commented. “I’m thinking that all the talk on the radio about increased fair traffic was due to the hype about this performance.”

The San Diego County Fair, originally known as the Del Mar Fair, originated in the late 1800s. It grew and changed over the span of 100+ years to become the typical loud, fried food heaven, sketchy rides, and thousands of visitors fair that one pictures. This year alone set a record of 1,412,133 visitors over the 22 day run. Last year it was slightly over 1.3 million. This is purely my biased opinion but I think the Thriller performance on Tribute to Michael Jackson day of the fair drew the majority of viewers who flocked to a San Diego fair from Los Angeles and elsewhere in the US.

Gas $25
Dance lessons for that Flash Mob Your Daughter’s in $0
Fair tickets $20
Daughter’s ticket $0
Watching Her Perform for Mass Audiences all Over Priceless

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