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How to Learn the Thriller Dance Step-by-Step

Flickr Mild Mannered Photographer

Learning how to do any coordinated dance takes a lot of time and practice, but if you're dedicated and determined, you can do it. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" dance moves are great to perform at parties, assemblies and parades. Whether you're a dance troupe looking to learn a new dance, or an individual, check out these step-by-step tips.

March in place four steps, starting on your right, then left, right then left. Every fourth step jerk your head to the left and then march backwards four steps, starting with your right foot, then left, right then left. Repeat this twice. Be sure to exaggerate the steps the way you would if you were an animated corpse walking the earth.

Add the shoulder jerk to the mix, jerking your head to the left every fourth step, and do this twice. Step forward with your right foot, lift and hold your arms level, and add a bounce and repeat. Bring both feet together and then step forward with your right foot, making a swimming motion with your arms and repeat.

Position your right foot to the right and point your left foot forward. Arch your neck and back and then hop quickly to the right twice, all the while bringing your back upright. Drop your arms down as you fold your body forward in a slump. Keep your head and arms positioned downward and shuffle into the leftward position. Shift forward for two counts.

Hold your left hand on your belt and the right arm stretched outward with the hand hanging down. From this position, bend your knees and come up. Tilt the hand upward when you come up, and lower it again as you bend down. Repeat this four times. Lower your arms in front of you and bend your knees. Slide three steps to the left, and bring your arms up to clap above your head. Stomp your feet, hike your shoulders, look to the left and repeat.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hang your hands on your belt loops. Cock your hips to the right, then the left and repeat three times. Tuck in your right knee, then let go. Push your left leg outward while pushing your right arm outward with closed fist. Come down on your left leg and cock your hip to the left twice. Bend your right knee and bring your right foot into the left. Lift up your right knee and bring up your right arm in a lion stance, roar and drop your right leg. Walk two steps right, turn and roar to the left. Turn and roar to the right, then turn and roar to the left again. Walk two steps to the left and repeat the above step in the opposite direction.

Jump up, and as your feet land, circle your arms to the left dramatically from your waist, up over your head and back down again. Shake your arms down and touch the floor, then shake it back up to standing position. Repeat this movement. Stomp your left leg out from the body, pivoting on your right leg. Stomp three times, pivoting as you do, and then look over your left shoulder. Hunching forward with your hands on your thighs, step your left foot forward, then right, then left then pivot on your right leg to face left.

Move your right leg forward dramatically, then your left, then do three quick steps forward. Repeat this movement starting on the left foot. Do this backward, and repeat. As you are doing this step, allow your arms to move fluidly, like spaghetti. Come off of this step and return to the moves demonstrated in Steps 4 and 5.

Step to the right and snap with your right hand. Move your arm to the left and snap, return to the right and snap. Repeat this movement eight times, ending on a right snap. Turn and jump to face the opposite direction and repeat the snapping movement eight snaps. Jump around to the left, reaching the right arm up over your head. Mimic air guitar movement to the right-hand side. Jerk the body in four quick jerks to the left so you are standing with a left lean. Bend your right arm in to the left, then back to the right, pivoting on your feet in the same direction. Repeat this movement four full times. While hunched to the right, grab at the air to your right, pull in and then punch three times to the left. Drop into a forward facing hunch.

Hold your downward hunch for two counts. Hop-step right, then left. Look left for two counts. Hike your shoulders then turn left and push your left knee outward, pause and then reach your arms, pulling them back in at your sides. Step your right leg in, then step the left leg left. Hold this position for one count, then turn and point your right toe to the right. Hold and point the left toe. Hold and point the right toe. Hold and point the left toe, this time bringing your arms up into a box-pose around your torso. Nod your head twice, then lower your arm as you pop your left hip, repeat. Take four steps forward, starting on your left foot. Leap outward with your arms and legs into a star position, then drop to the ground. Hold this position for one count, make a zombie pose, hold and then rise.

Step your leg to the left, so your legs are shoulders-width apart. Pivot on your right leg, stomping your left leg around in a half-circle with six heavy stomps. In a hunched position, take eight stomps forward. Repeat the two above steps so you are facing the audience again, ending with eight hunched stomps forward.


Review the dance steps and the fluidity of the movement. Remember, the dancers in this dance are supposed to have risen from the dead, so you want to be fluid, but stiff.

Practice dancing along with the original "Thriller" video.

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