Oct 242005
Authors: Margaret Canty

The only thing scarier then zombies, many discovered Monday night, are zombies working out to Michael Jackson.

Students celebrated the Halloween season with the recreation center's annual "Thriller" dance lesson, a free activity designed to combine fitness and fun.

"We've done it for five years now, and it's really popular. People get into and have a good time. It's a good way to showcase group fitness and what we have to offer here," said Nicole LaRocque, the strength and fitness coordinator.

Shannon Clark, senior health and exercise major and group fitness instructor, said at least 300 dancers of all skill levels filled the gym, many dressed in outfits ranging from dead zombie to 80s prom fashions and everything in between.

"It was an awesome turnout. The most we've ever had," said the dance instructor Connie Kercher, a junior speech and communications major and group fitness instructor.

The recreation center provided several raffle prizes and a grand prize of a t-shirt, water bottle, work out towel, gift card for a fitness class and one personal training session for the best zombie costume.

Reiley Altenborg, freshman open option major, was the first winner, scoring two mind and body passes.

"I enter a lot of stuff and usually win," she said. "I've always wanted to learn "Thriller." It's a secret passion I have."

Kercher said Altenborg is not alone in her love of the song.

"Everyone loves old school Michael," she said. "It's a good workout and it's fun."

The top three female costume winners were dressed in complete 80s work out gear, including a thong leotard and spandex topped with zombie-like make-up for the Halloween theme.

"(I dressed up because) Michael Jackson is weird and Halloween is a time to be weird," said second place female Melissa Goldenberg, a senior art major.

Although the clear majority of dancers were female, there were quite a few men in attendance.

"It (the dance) was absolutely thrilling," said Ford Childs, sophomore civil engineering major. "It was also a little challenging."

Despite the difficulty level of the dance for some, Kaitlin Guidarelli, senior Spanish and English education major, said the instructors did a "good job" teaching.

"They spread out around the floor and stood on a platform in the front," she said. "It's cool."

Clark said the group fitness staff organized and learned the dance in advance using a video.

"It took us about three hours to learn, and we taught it in an hour and a half," Clark said.

Some headed to the bars after learning the dance to utilize their new moves.

Clark said, "Thriller is fun to bust out at the clubs. It's fun and it's for Halloween."

Not only is the dance entertaining but LaRoque said it is also a workout. Many lined up at the water fountains afterwards, sweating off their fake blood.

"Dancing is fitness," LaRoque said. "It's movement. A lot of people don't think it is because they're having a good time, but it's cardio."


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