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Odyssey Dance Theatre: Thriller

The year was 1983. An innocent date to the movies by two young lovers turned horrifyingly disastrous—at least in the magical 14-minute music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which forever changed pop music.

The album of the same name became the best-selling record of all time, so it makes sense that Utah’s Odyssey Dance Theatre would aim to ride on its successful coattails. For 16 years, ODT’s version of Thriller—with its formula of pop familiarity, base comedy and contemporary jazz/ballet movement—has proven scarily addicting for Utah audiences. Fan favorites include “The Curse of the Mummy” (where a mummy busts some hip-hop jams), “Dem Bones” (which features black-lit, tap-dancing skeletons) and “Frankenstein” (in which the big oaf loves his bride too damned hard and can’t go on semi-living without her).

According to artistic director Derryl Yeager, there are a few new surprises this year, like a group of werewolf step-dancers called (you guessed it) the Steppenwolves. Also, he says, “We thought it would be fun to do a guillotine act and chop off a head or two, so we went with the most famous head and body separation in history, Marie Antoinette, in ‘A Little Off The Top!’ We’ve also added a new piece, which is a ‘silk’ act like those acrobats in Cirque shows. It is called ‘Lucy—Dracula’s First Bite!’”

Other ODT classics like “Jason Jam,” “Salem’s Mass,” “The Lost Boys” and “River of Blood Dance” will surely make the bill once again, too. And, of course, there will always be the original “Thriller.” (Jacob Stringer)

Date: Oct 20, 2012
Time: Times Vary
Phone: 801-581-7100
Address: 1395 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 84112
Where: Kingsbury Hall