Mexico City Claims WM Thriller Record
August 31st, 2009 by WY Daily Staff
MEXICO CITY — They say they beat it. Thousands of Mexicans claimed they broke the record for most people dancing to “Thriller” simultaneously in one place on Saturday, which would have been Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday.
“We did it!” organizer Javier Hildago shouted to thousands of people wearing black fedoras, white gloves, aviator shades and ghoulish face paint, breathless after trying to recreate the groundbreaking 1983 video.
Did they? The Guinness Book of World Records will decide in a week.
The current record was set in May by a group of 242 College of William & Mary students who performed the routine in Williamsburg, Virginia, according to Guinness.
Hildago claimed 12,937 people danced Saturday in front of Mexico City’s Monument of the Revolution, led by a Michael Jackson impersonator wearing a red-and-gold sequined jacket.
But Guinness must certify whether all those people really performed the entire, intricate routine. The impersonator, who goes by the name Hector Jackson, and most of those in front of a huge crowd of onlookers certainly looked pretty good.
“More people responded than we even imagined!” Hector Jackson said. “Mexico gave the best tribute in the world to Michael Jackson.”
Some of those who took part were born more than two decades after “Thriller” was released.
The College of William and Mary’s Kevin Dua, then a senior, led the successful April 19 effort to break the Guinness world record for the “Thriller” dance. Just 242 dancers showed up, a lot by W&M standards and more than half as many more than the group who’d owned the previous record.
When Jackson died suddenly on June 25, Dua figured it was just a matter of time until the Tribe zombies were overtaken by others. Even with that realization, he put a William and Mary spin on what was a late-semester Sunday diversion.
“Every time this record is broken, a lot of people will look upon it as a tribute, paying homage to Michael Jackson,” he told WYDaily earlier this summer. “Someone pointed out to me that we can take credit for the fact that we broke the record; we were the last group to hold the title while he was alive.”
Guillermo Rodriguez, 2, wore a wig of dreadlocks, a black fedora and a white glove as he practiced the moves minutes before the event, holding up a cell phone that blared a recording of the song into his ear.
His father, Guillermo Rodriguez Sr., is not a huge fan himself. But he said his son has become mesmerized by the Jackson videos that Mexican television have often played since the pop icon died June 25.
“Michael Jack!” the toddler screeched, pointing a chubby, un-gloved finger at a Jackson T-shirt held up by a nearby hawker.