No Mere Mortal Can Resist

  • Thriller
    Thriller
    A student dressed like a zombie performs the dance number from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video in the Sunken Garden.
    Photo by Stephen Salupkas
  • Thriller
    Thriller
    Students perform the dance number from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video in the Sunken Garden April 19 in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record.
    Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Thriller
    Thriller
    Students perform the dance number from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video in the Sunken Garden April 19 in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record.
  • Thriller
    Thriller
    Even an injured leg couldn't keep this student from participating in the event.
    Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Thriller
    Thriller
    Students perform a move from "Thriller."
    Photo by Stephen Salpukas

Most graduating seniors at William & Mary are content to just get through finals, ring the Wren Chapel bell and be on their way; but Kevin Dua had a far more "sinister" legacy in mind. With the specter of spring semester exams looming high, Dua and 241 other students at the College beat the Guinness World record for the largest ever staging of Michael Jackson's Thriller dance.

Dua characterized the event as students taking "a break from their hectic, daily, William & Mary lives to just have some fun" and he is right that the breaking of this record probably isn't the most capital-I intellectual thing that has ever happened on this campus. But still, he may be selling his and his fellow students' accomplishment a bit short.

The appeal of the Thriller dance is, after all, one of the few pieces of American pop culture that truly transcends race, gender, class, creed and nationality. For 242 of our students to perform this dance on the same ground where Thomas Jefferson walked over 300 years ago is pretty awesome.

So maybe this event isn't so much a break from daily William & Mary life as it is an extension of it--yet another striking example of how easily our students can come together to achieve a common goal.

Or maybe, as Vincent Price intones on the Thriller record, it is simply the fact that "No mere mortal can resist the evil of the Thriller."

A few months later, a group in Mexico topped the record but, regardless, Kevin Dua and his hoard of dancing zombies deserve a wholehearted congratulations.