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Thrill The World NYC - Amada Anderson

Amada Anderson started the Thrill the World New York City team in April, 2009.  She stumbled upon the event through a YouTube video.  “January 2009, I wanted to do an exercise regime," she said. "I decided I was going to learn Thriller after I saw the movie ‘Thirteen Going on Thirty.'  So I started searching on YouTube for a video of the dance.  I found a video made by this girl in Canada, Ines Markelle, who organizes Thrill the World.  I ordered the DVD that she created and I started learning the dance.”  

After that, Amada’s interest was thoroughly peaked.  “Eventually I registered with Ines, so that I could start my own Thrill the World event in NYC.  I recruited volunteers from Facebook and Craigslist.  I quickly learned the ropes of New York City permits, and began getting sponsorship from Halloween stores.”

In 2009, Anderson held the first Thrill the World NYC in Astoria, Queens.  Because it was their first time, they ran into a few difficulties.  “It was pouring rain!” said Anderson.  “We only had about 100 dancers, and I ended up paying a lot of money out of pocket.” But, worldwide, Thrill the World raised about $50,000 for charity.

After that, Anderson began designing a website and getting sponsorships from dance studios in New York. Everyone pays $20 to register their event, and they have the choice of directing the money they raise towards a charity. 

“This year, I’m charging $20 to take the Thriller class, or $10 + either a pair of pajamas or a children’s story book,” said Anderson. This year, Thrill the World NYC is raising money for the Pajama Program, a non-profit organization that collects pajamas and books for kids in homeless shelters or kids who have been removed from their homes.  

The best part is actually doing the dance.  “It’s about bringing the community together,” said Anderson. “There were kids dancing but also people in their 60’s and 70’s.  Once it actually stopped raining and the music was blasting, it was electrifying.”

Now, she’s really enjoying teaching the classes. “I love seeing the light bulbs go off in people’s heads when they say, ‘I got it!’ The dance is taught very simply and once you get it, you’ll never forget it. It’s ‘thrilled’ into your body!”

Anderson wanted to emphasize that this event really is a tribute to Michael Jackson. “To him and his music.  Not that you have to be a huge fan, but for some reason, his music bridges gaps between people of all races and ages.  He was also a big philanthropist.  So this event is also becoming a living memory of him,” she said.

According to Anderson, groups who have put on Thrill the World events went on to learn the dances to ‘Beat It’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ as well.  Some groups have started cleaning up their communities, going around as “trash zombies,” and raising awareness for the environment.  

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