Learning a dance sequence is as easy as counting to eight. Dance choreography is broken into counts, or beats, one, two, three, four, etc. The movement is articulated or punctuated on each count, bundled into measures of eight, regardless of the length of the dance routine. This technique is used by most choreographers in most forms of dance, including ballet.
The Michael Jackson Thriller routine is no exception to the rule. If you want to learn the choreography with detail and accuracy, start from the freeze position in the beginning and count their steps. The most important element in the routine is to get your feet placed correctly and in time to the music. You cannot be early or late on the foot work, as this will ruin the timing and synchronization for the rest of the piece.
When executing intricate foot work or turns, don't worry about how you look in the mirror. The foundation of getting down the steps with accuracy is the most important issue at hand. As you gain confidence with the choreography and remember the steps with speed, then it is time to polish each step and clean it up.
The Michael Jackson Thriller choreography looks very impressive, but is not that technically difficult. What is challenging is the precision of movement sharply articulated to the beat. And remember to apply great energy and gesture to your hands and face, as the dramatic element is expressed with the entire body.
Group unity for the monster walk will need to be perfect to make that sequence effective. The shoulders should gesture with sharp articulation and exude attitude. Also, remember to give your full attention to the head movements, as they are quick and hit every beat. And when rehearsing with a group, it will do you no good to watch the dancer in front of you for timing and direction. Each dancer must train their ear to the beat, and hit the mark 100 percent of the time to keep in unison.
When practicing the Thriller routine, there will have to be many sessions where the group will perform as a unit, and set the proper spacing between themselves to avoid collision. Spacing should be just far enough for the arms to extend without touching the dancer to your side. However, to make the most of a group rehearsal, each dancer should rehearse on their own and be solid with the choreography and pace.
Michael Jackson's Thriller is one of the best routines ever created, and with some hard work and determination, you can get it done. This would be a fantastic group dance for a party or professional entertaining. And although reproducing this video is not cheap, try to do your best with the budget for lighting, costumes and make-up.