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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Zombie dancers attempt to devour previous world record

    The undead come to life for the "Thriller" dance to assist breaking a Guinness Book of World Records. (Photo courtesy of Linda Mittiga)

    On Sat., Oct. 29, Stony Brook students participated Thrill the World, an event that took place across the globe where people gathered in attempt to set a Guinness world record and dance to Michael Jackson’s 1982 fan favorite “Thriller” dance at the same exact time.

    The zombies were first seen in a flash mob during Campus Lifetime on Wed., Oct. 26. At first, there were a few people standing in the middle of the Student Activities Center, or SAC, plaza until they all suddenly collapsed. Bystanders started yelling to them asking if they were okay. One minute later, “Thriller” was blasted through a set of speakers. The zombies “rose from the dead” and performed the famous “Thriller” dance perfectly in sync. At least one hundred people stopped and watched the five-minute routine.

    At the end of the dance, head zombie Thomas Mittiga addressed the crowd, saying that Stony Brook would be participating in the worldwide “Thriller” dance and encouraged students to join the living dead in the Tabler Black Box theater on Saturday night.

    The “zombies” agreed that it was a pretty good turnout and the audience was very good. Some had joined when they saw the fliers around campus. Others saw their friends were planning on dancing and joined.

    “Thomas Mittiga participated in the Thrill the World record attempt in 2008 with his high school history club,” said Mittiga in an email. He also received help from his RA Spirit and Pride Committee: Kristina Mosquito, Tony Fratto, Benny Lam, Dayoon Van Mazzagatti and Rachel Jacobson and Resident Hall Director David Iboy. Natalia Popko, a freshman psychology student on a pre-med tract, and Karen McHugh, a freshman English major, joined with no experience with the choreography. After attending every non- mandatory rehearsal, they started teaching the dance themselves in their spare time.

    “Otherwise, it’s a very easy dance to learn, but hard to make look as awesome as MJ’s,” Mittiga said. Still, twenty zombies were in the Tabler Black Box at 8 p.m. on Oct. 29 learning the steps, tightening up their own moves or teaching newcomers.

    Thrill the World provided the learning material, including slow recordings of the song, with and without the instructions over it, and a faster recording of the song with instructions. The instructed versions had moves such as “Rock on, rock on, rock on,” where zombies moved their heels back and forth and fist pumped simultaneously.

    In performing the actual dance at about 10 p.m. with the rest of the world, the “zombies” revealed their true forms with some help from white and red face paint and eyeliner; rags were also provided.

    In attempt to get one last practice in, the zombies began dancing and realized at the end of their final run- through that it was 10:04 p.m. They had missed the beginning of the worldwide Thriller dance.

    Still they performed one last time, officially.

    The dance was filmed by Mittiga’s mother. In order to be a part of attempt to break the current world record of 13,402 “zombies” dancing at once, the dance needed be filmed and names of all the participants needed to be submitted to

    Thrill the World Oakland in California. According to, multiple events in more than 30 countries around the world were scheduled to take place this year.

    The Stony Brook Thrill the World coordinators hope to have the worldwide event become a part of the Battle of the Undergraduate Colleges next year.

    Reporter Chealsea Katz participated in the Thrill the World event at the end of the night. 

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