Halloween Brings The End Of 'Thriller' Season

fromWNYC

Lots of businesses are winding down now that Halloween is over. One of the more unusual ones: Michael Jackson tribute artists and choreographers who do "Thriller" performances.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Sorry to tell you: Halloween is over now, which means many businesses pegged to Halloween are packing up. Alec Hamilton, of our member station WNYC, reports on one of the more unusual ones.

ALEC HAMILTON, BYLINE: Thirty-five-year old Michael Jackson tribute artist Moses Harper says performing "Thriller" on Halloween always marks the end of her work rush.

MOSES HARPER: Some people call it M.J. season - Michael season, Michael Jackson season.

HAMILTON: From the June 25th anniversary of Jackson's death until Halloween, the opportunities for tribute dancers and impersonators come fast and furious. That's true for Michael Jackson choreographers too, like 31-year-old Scott Jurkowski.

SCOTT JURKOWSKI: Yeah, that's been pretty lucrative. I mean, not to say something so horrible, but him dying was the best thing that ever happened to my career, if you want to call it that.

HAMILTON: There are festivals and parties. There are summer conventions. There are wedding groups that want dancing lessons. There are flash mobs that want to perform "Thriller" for Halloween. Harper says the amount she charges varies widely, depending on what is requested.

HARPER: It's like, if you need more dancing - well, this kind of dancing, the price goes up. It's not 'cause I'm being mean, but it takes a lot more energy.

HAMILTON: Still, neither of them makes a living solely from dance.

JURKOWSKI: Making money as a dancer is impossible even when you're like, a professional dancer. Thankfully, I don't have to work at a bar at night and then dance on the bar, you know, at the same time. (Laughter)

HAMILTON: But Harper says it's about doing what she loves, even as demand drops for "Thriller" dancing until next season.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THRILLER")

MICHAEL JACKSON: (Singing) It's close to midnight, and something evil is lurking in the dark...

HAMILTON: For NPR News, I'm Alec Hamilton in New York.

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