Zombies are alive and dancing at Rockland District Middle School. As part of the Rockland Afterschool Alliance, several students have been preparing their ghoulish moves for International Thrill the World Day Saturday, Oct. 29.

The annual global tribute to Michael Jackson’s epic dance video “Thriller,” Thrill the World attempts to set a world record for the largest simultaneous “Thriller” dance. In 2009, 22,571 people in 264 cities from 33 countries danced “Thriller” at exactly the same time, setting a new record. Zombie crews from Rockland and other locations near and far will emerge from their eerie resting spots to dance the late King of Pop’s choreography in hopes of setting a new world record this year.

The official event will take place Saturday at Harbor Park, commencing at exactly 10 a.m. to coordinate with all other international dances. Cautious onlookers are encouraged to watch if they dare.

RASA students have been studying every week with Youthlinks instructor Caitlin Schick to learn “Thriller” moves. The choreography for the event is uniquely structured to offer an easy-to-learn version of the dance, pairing words and rhythms with physical movements.  Students continue to practice and are preparing their zombie accoutrements for their dancing D-Day. The infectious moves have even snagged some local community members to join the zombie squadron for the official dance — the more the scarier. To learn the dance, visit thrilltheworld.com.

Youthlinks hopes to make Thrill The World an annual event for both students and adults alike in the Midcoast. For more information about the international event, visit thrilltheworld.com. Youthlinks is a program of Broadreach Family & Community Services located in Rockland that provides community service, leadership and enrichment opportunities to Midcoast youth age 11 to 17. These programs help youth learn skills, build self-esteem, cultivate social responsibility, develop leadership abilities and connect to their peers, to adult mentors and to their communities. Youthlinks is funded by grants and the generous donations of individuals and businesses. All programs are free for participating youth.

RASA is a program of Broadreach Family & Community Services offered in collaboration with RSU 13 supported by a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant from the Maine Department of Education. Broadreach Family & Community Services is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the children and families of Waldo and Knox counties since 1983. For more information concerning the Rockland After-School Alliance, please call Amie Hutchison, RASA Project Coordinator, at Youthlinks, 594-2221. For more information on Broadreach programs and services, visit www.broadreachmaine.org.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.